The National Rifle Association’s lobbying division urged its members to thank and support an Oregon state senator days after he threatened to shoot local law enforcement. The state police he was threatening had been sent to collect Republican legislators who are refusing to vote on a climate change bill.
On June 19, Oregon Senate Republicans threatened a walkout rather than voting on a greenhouse gas emissions cap-and-trade bill. The legislature is set to adjourn on June 30, but Democratic Gov. Kate Brown responded by saying she will call a special session starting July 2 for a vote. Brown also said she might bring back gun safety and vaccination bills she previously tabled in order to broker a deal with Republicans after they walked out in May due to a different bill.
In a statement, the governor said she is “prepared to use all resources and tools available to me as governor to ensure that Oregonians are being served by their leaders.” State police have now been deployed to find the Republican lawmakers and bring them back to the legislature, as they are authorized to do under state law.
Republican state Sen. Brian Boquist responded by warning that law enforcement should “send bachelors and come heavily armed,” adding that “I’m not going to be a political prisoner in the state of Oregon. It’s just that simple.” The lawmaker later doubled down, saying his threat wasn’t “thinly veiled” and reiterating he is “not going to be arrested as a political prisoner in Oregon period.”
On June 20, one day after Boquist made his threat, the NRA Institute for Legislative Action, the NRA’s lobbying arm, put out a press release applauding Oregon Senate Republicans and urging its members to “thank them for fighting hard … and encourage them to stand strong.” Boquist was listed among Republican senators the NRA-ILA asked its supporters to contact and thank.