Given the prevalence of mass shootings and gun violence nationwide, U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., urged a crowd at a Bend town hall meeting Saturday to not get complacent about finding solutions to curb the bloodshed.

Wyden told the audience, which included local members of the national organization against gun violence Moms Demand Action, how he worries gun violence is almost an accepted reality. He recalled working out in a gym and hearing the news of a recent mass shooting, and everybody stopping their workouts to watch television in the gym.

“After a few minutes, they go back to their weights and exercise machines,” Wyden said.

Wyden told the crowd that filled the Central Oregon Community College Coats Campus dining hall that he will continue to push for more thorough background checks, stronger gun storage requirements and more research into gun violence statistics.

“This is not going to violate the Second Amendment to say people with links to terrorism or domestic violence shouldn’t have guns,” Wyden said. “It’s just common sense.”

Gun violence was one of many topics discussed Saturday. Wyden took questions on national topics of interest, such as election security, immigration and Trump administration policies.

Wyden warned the crowd he believes the 2020 election could be even more susceptible to foreign election interference than 2016. To combat that, Wyden described his support of more election audits and cybersecurity requirements.

“This is a test of our 200 years of self-governance, because we have always said that when you vote, and we have free elections, that people’s votes will count,” Wyden said.

When asked about border security, Wyden said he believes it needs to be stronger but not by building a wall or holding immigrants who are in the country illegally at the border.

“We’ve been going backwards rather than forward,” Wyden said.

The treatment of refugees at the border goes against the nation’s values of accepting immigrants, Wyden added.

“The reality is if you are not a Native American, odds are overwhelming you are part of the immigrant experience,” he said.

Wyden kept encouraging the crowd to stay involved in political matters and hold public officials like himself accountable.

“That’s why these town meetings are important,” he said. “Accountability is what it’s all about.”

— Reporter: 541-617-7820, kspurr@bendbulletin.com

23897547