Editorial: Governor needs to focus first on issues that affect all of us

Given the tendencies of our state governement, we’re actually surprised it didn’t already have an anti-gun policy in place for its workplaces, but apparently not.

Even our city government has one of these. Employees who are not police officers must not be armed at work. Somehow, policymakers think this makes their workplaces safer.

Though not reported widely, we learned last week that Gov. Kate Brown has now established this policy for the state, effective Jan. 6, prohibiting volunteers, committee members, workers and others working with a state agency from carrying weapons while “on all property and facilities owned, leased, rented or otherwise occupied by the Oregon state government … (long list of particulars here) … and any site where an employee enters on behalf of the employee’s employment with Oregon state government” except for an employee’s home (including employees who live in state housing).

We can only assume that the purpose of this new policy, which presaged Brown’s announcement of her legislative agenda, which aims to close “loopholes” in the state’s firearms laws, is to stop any crazed state employee or official who plans to take out coworkers or the public.

The reasoning here is not convincing.

This policy is apparently intended to stop that individual, one who obviously intends to break the law and shoot other people? Because words on a page forbid this?

Thankfully, our state hasn’t had big issues with violence in the workplace. The astute anti-gun crowd will naturally ask, in obvious retort, why anyone needs a gun at work if violence isn’t occurring in the workplace.

After the tragedy less than two years ago at Umpqua Community College, the fallacy of this reasoning should be brutally clear.

Following this to a logical conclusion, if the unthinkable were to happen, other employees, volunteers, etc., of course, will be unarmed and incapable of defending themselves from their crazed coworker.

Again, thankfully, we can anticipate that not many Oregon state workers will encounter violence in the workplace. The average police officer never gets into a shootout at any point in his or her career either.

But the two concepts aren’t apples and oranges.

A policy denying workers their ability to defend themselves does not, will simply expose those who follow the rules to those who don’t, and that’s not a good rule.

Without belaboring this further, let’s just say that Gov. Brown should focus on addressing the real problems that plague our state: struggling public education, transportation woes, public health issues, PERS, stagnant rural economies, etc. These are pressing needs that await intelligent solutions.

While she was announcing her new policy on Jan. 6, her chief of staff and presumptive deputy chief of staff were resigning over conflict-of-interest questions – the latter before she even got started.

Enough said.