The Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms on Friday called on an Oregon circuit judge to step down over remarks he made from the bench earlier in the week that he would “take all the guns in America, put them on big barges and go dump them in the ocean.”
That did not go over well with CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb, who said in a prepared statement that Multnomah County Circuit Court Judge Kenneth Walker “should not use the bench as a bully pulpit to attack a constitutionally-protected civil right.”
The judge was sentencing a man identified as Marcell Lee Daniel Jr. to 17 ½ years in prison for the drive-by shooting of Andrew Coggins back on June 30, 2014 in North Portland, according to the Portland Oregonian and OregonLive. In the process, he launched a tirade against firearms.
“There’s no defense to guns,” Judge Walker said in a video that is now posted on YouTube. “There’s just absolutely no reason to have them. But it is a right of people in this country to own and possess them, and I will not say anything to affect that right.”
However, according to Gottlieb, that is precisely what the judge did with his remarks. The veteran gun rights advocate suggested that Walker’s comments could be used in a campaign to further ratchet down on gun rights. About two months ago, Ceasefire groups in Oregon and neighboring Washington announced they will lobby the legislatures in both states starting in January to ban so-called “assault weapons.”
In his prepared statement, Gottlieb suggested that the judge seemed to blame the gun more than the convicted shooter standing before him.
“Judge Walker is absolutely wrong about firearms,” Gottlieb said. “There are many good reasons for honest citizens to have guns, including self-defense against criminals like the man he just sent to prison.”
And he quickly added this: “Indeed, law-abiding citizens don’t need any reason at all to exercise a civil right. Whether Judge Walker likes it or not, keeping and bearing arms is a right protected by the constitutions of both the State of Oregon and the United States.”
The judge’s comments have stirred up a tempest on social media. There’s a spirited discussion in progress at the Northwest Firearms forum and other chat groups.
Gottlieb said Judge Walker should at least apologize for his comments.
“Such an extremist viewpoint is offensive and has no place on the bench,” he said.