After Thursday’s mass shooting at an Oregon community college, which left nine people dead and more injured, President Obama aired his frustration over gun laws in the U.S. At a news conference Friday, he called on voters to push their representatives to take action.
“You just have to, for a while, be a single-issue voter, because that’s what is happening on the other side,” Obama said. “And that’s going to take some time. I mean, the NRA has had a good start.”
Not all gun owners agree with the policies of the National Rifle Association. Hunter — and Oregon resident — Lily Raff thinks she’s precisely the kind of person Obama was addressing.
“I think what he’s calling for is probably for gun owners like me, who support some reasonable gun control, to stand up and say, ‘The NRA doesn’t represent us,’ ” Raff tells NPR’s Michel Martin. “We want something to happen here. We want something to change.”
Raff, author of the memoir Call of the Mild: Learning to Hunt My Own Dinner, has written about her differences with the NRA. After the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary in 2012, Raff wrote columns for the New York Times and The Atlantic calling on fellow hunters to support stricter gun control measures.
“There’s a whole spectrum of gun owners,” she says, “and I think one of the problems that we have as a country is that there is a very, very narrow view of the gun owner that has a voice.”
On hunters’ public image
I think that’s one of the problems we have, as hunters and as gun owners, is that for people who don’t know any hunters personally and aren’t familiar with hunting, we just kind of get lumped into this category of “gun nut.”
On gun control
Particularly for hunters, we understand that there can be a middle ground there, that just because certain pieces of the legislation are passed and new regulations are applied doesn’t mean that we’re all going to have to turn over our guns and, you know, have them melted down or something.
As a hunter, I am subject to all kinds of firearms regulations every fall, when I go hunting. The state of Oregon has some rules about what gauge of shotgun I can or can’t carry, what times of day I can shoot, what areas of the state I can shoot in. These are regulations that hunters accept, and even embrace, because they’re part of what makes our hunting heritage possible.
On the views of gun owners
One of the things that often gets lost in this very polarized conversation — or lack of conversation — nationally about guns is that there’s a huge amount of diversity. Just like hunters come in all stripes and with all backgrounds, so do gun owners.