Redmond’s Radian Weapons is donating $100,000 from sales of gun accessories to support a rally on Saturday in Salem protesting gun measures.
The Defend the 2nd rally is to protest multiple measures before Oregon lawmakers addressing guns. There is one measure Radian and others are targeting, said Josiah Underwood, Radian Weapons director of operations. That’s Senate Bill 501, which has been called among the strictest proposed.
The measure is assigned to the Judiciary Committee but has not had a hearing yet.
As written, the measure prohibits anyone from owning a magazine with a capacity to hold more than five rounds, requires background checks before any ammunition can be transferred and restricts ammunition sales to 20 rounds within a 30-day period. The bill requires any firearm with a trigger or cable lock to be stored in a locked container. Violations could result in a year in prison and/or a fine of up to $6,250.
About 3,000 to 6,000 people have indicated they will join the rally on the Capitol mall, Underwood said.
The money will pay for buses from Pendleton, Medford, Portland, Eugene and Redmond, and DJs, bands, media and staging, he said. All told, the company has spent about $90,000 in the weeks leading up to the event.
Another gun manufacturer, Noveske Firearms of Grants Pass, also supports the rally effort, Underwood said.
“The owner saw what was happening in the Oregon Legislature and decided it was an opportune time to organize supporters,” Underwood said. “We felt that as a producer in this space, we could make a real impact on gathering supporters for a march.”
“This is a pretty serious issue.”
Radian is best-known for its Raptor charging handle, an accessory that fits an AR-15 that controls the bolt carrier and puts rounds in the chamber. To support the rally, Radian donated sales of a limited-edition charging handle and a matching safety selector.
Other funds for the rally came from donors, Underwood said. Expenses that aren’t covered through fundraising will come out of Radian’s pocketbook, he said.
“Basically there’s hundreds of thousands of rifles and magazines in Oregon and what you end up here is creating felons out of what is commonly owned,” Underwood said. “It’s draconian and tyrannical.”
Underwood said his company is controlling the event and is urging supporters to not bring their weapons. The goal is to be peaceful and inclusive, he said.
“There are some gun groups that we feel will do more harm than good for our rights because they pander to political discussions that we don’t feel are relevant,” Underwood said. “We’re supporting our constitutional right and that’s something a lot of people can support.”
Chief co-sponsors of the measure are Sen. Rob Wagner and Rep. Andrea Salinas, both Democrats from Lake Oswego, who introduced the bill at the request of Students of Change, a national nonprofit formed after the Parkland, Florida, mass shooting last year when 17 people were killed.
Richard Nelson, the Bend Oregon Hunter’s Association chapter adviser, said he won’t be at the rally, but he supports its purpose.
Limiting gun users’ ammunition would hamper hunters who can go through 20 rounds rapidly as they sight targets, he said.
“I am concerned,” said Nelson who lives in southeast Bend. “Are you going to issue warrants to search every gun owner’s home to enforce how they store their weapons in their homes? I don’t see that happening. I think a lot of people will rather go to jail than allow someone to search how they store their guns.”
— Reporter Gary Warner contributed to this report.
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