Corvallis moms join gun control fight

2013-02-14T09:00:00Z Corvallis moms join gun control fightBy Bennett Hall, Corvallis Gazette-Times Corvallis Gazette Times

Three Corvallis moms, spurred to action by the Dec. 14 school shooting in Newtown, Conn., have emerged as the unlikely leaders of a growing local gun control movement.

Sarah Finger McDonald, Christy Anderson Brekken and Meghna Babbar-Sebens say they never thought of themselves as activists. But as mothers with two young children apiece, they felt compelled to do something after the slaughter of innocents at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

“You can’t be hopeless in the face of this,” Brekken said. “I’m not hopeless — I’m angry, I’m scared, I’m frustrated, but I’m not hopeless.”

Already friends, the three women connected via social media in the days after the murder of 20 first-graders and six school staffers by a lone gunman. Seeking a constructive outlet for their grief, they soon found themselves doing something out of character: writing to elected officials.

Brekken drafted a letter, which McDonald and others have modified for their own use, calling for what they term “common sense gun control,” including a ban on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

“This is not about taking people’s Second Amendment rights away — it’s not about that at all,” Babbar-Sebens insisted. “It’s just about being sensible in how we use these dangerous weapons.”

Last week they started a Facebook page that has attracted more than 50 “likes,” and they’ve formed a local chapter of One Million Moms for Gun Control, a national grassroots campaign to promote gun legislation. They believe it’s the third chapter to form in Oregon.

In an effort to draw still more people to their cause, the fledgling group plans to hold a rally at 10 a.m. Saturday in Central Park.

“It’s sort of our coming-out party,” said McDonald.

Their biggest organizing tool, however, may turn out to be a letter they received from state Sen. Betsy Close, whose district includes parts of Linn and Benton counties.

Most of the politicians they wrote to have not yet replied. The few responses they did get were generally supportive — with the exception of Close, a conservative Republican and a staunch supporter of gun rights.

While the Sandy Hook killings were “a tragic loss,” Close wrote in a letter to McDonald, “I believe that we must be careful not to overreact and pass restrictive laws that will not solve the problem.”

She cited examples of school districts in Arizona and Texas using armed volunteers to guard schools, calling them “promising moves.”

McDonald and Brekken drafted a reply arguing that such an approach would increase rather than reduce the risk to students. When they circulated a copy among their friends, they gathered more than 300 signatures.

“We obviously have a real hunger for this sort of action in Corvallis and the surrounding area,” McDonald said.

They tried to meet with the senator last week to deliver their impromptu petition, but Close canceled the meeting and it has not yet been rescheduled.

Reached by phone on Wednesday, Close called the cancellation unavoidable and said she still hopes to meet with the local group. She also noted that she has not formally proposed putting armed volunteers in Oregon schools and said most of her fellow lawmakers in Salem are taking a cautious approach to any kind of gun control legislation.

“We’re all kind of studying this,” she said. “I think we have a long ways to go before we advocate anything.”

Contact reporter Bennett Hall at or 541-758-9529.

Reporter Bennett Hall can be contacted at 541-758-9529 or

Copyright 2014 Corvallis Gazette Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(19) Comments

  1. Tmook9
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    Tmook9 - February 21, 2013 11:50 am
    Confratulations to these fine citizens.

    Moms, do not be afraid of malignant, misogynistic commenters like BeavFan. You do not need to own a gun to understand the issue of gun violence.

    BeavFan claims weapons expertise but he has probably never seen the result of gun violence close-up and personal.

    Know at the majority American public stands behind you on an assault weapons ban by a 55% - 40% margin.

    Keep up the good work.
  2. corvallisite
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    corvallisite - February 20, 2013 4:38 pm
    But if you reduce the usage of one thing for the usage of something the same as, or even worse than the original, what have you gained? Just like when someone is looking to kill another, if they can't get a gun they will find something else that will work just as well. With the bag ban, we are filling the landfills with reusable bags made in China and sold at Safeway for 99 cents instead of filling the landfills with single use plastic that can be recycled.
  3. VH
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    VH - February 19, 2013 5:13 pm
    Well, so nice of you to sign your rant 'Respectfully' when your opening line is ad hominen...'hen pecked'? Your stereotyped response is a complete turn off. And your repeated 'ladies' is also insulting.

    As to your argument regarding the likes of baseball bats...if you think they are equivalent in their ability to cause mayhem, why do you so badly defend the right to own a gun, presumably for protection?
  4. mariecollins
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    mariecollins - February 18, 2013 1:06 am
    Not only politicians are involved in the gun control but mommies too. This is not a surprise at all because the family involves in the societal issues. So is parents, most especially mother out there who are truly overly protected with their family. Who wouldn't do that? Mothers can sacrifice anything just for her family, right? But now that we tackling huge and serious issue of gun ban, parents awareness were alarmed. on the other hand, Gun supporters are speaking out vehemently against the Administration’s push, from grass roots to the top political players in the nation. Some say they will wage civil war if the administration goes after their weapons. Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas, has vowed a move to impeach President Obama if he takes executive order on any of the measures. READ MORE>>
  5. bunky
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    bunky - February 16, 2013 6:58 pm
    I will back these ladies, if just one of them can tell my what form of gun control would have stopp that scum from killing those poor kids
  6. Archaeopteryx
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    Archaeopteryx - February 15, 2013 3:32 pm
    I must disagree. Certainly a person can enjoy shooting a gun at something that is non-human: for fun, for sport, for utility, etc...But a gun is really made to make something dead, or at least rip its flesh, bones, and organs up. I don't see how you could argue otherwise.

    But anyway, back to the other point, why won't you offer where you draw the line? I persist in this because that is what the people in the article are trying to figure out. Certainly we all have some idea of what weapons it makes sense for citizens to have access to, for fun and utility. Most of the other first-world countries lean toward the less-militaristic side of the access spectrum. Should we consider the same?
  7. colonel panic
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    colonel panic - February 15, 2013 3:15 pm
    Guns are made for the sole purpose of killing people? I didn't get that memo. None of my guns have killed anyone and I would think everyone in the United States would be dead if that was a valid argument. Obviosly gun owners must be doing something else with their guns. Some people enjoy riding bikes-- others enjoy hunting or shooting at cans.

    Where do I draw the line? That is a slippery slope argument. In the spirit of the 2nd amendment I think responsible, law-abiding adults should be able to own anything the police deem necessary to protect themselves with.
  8. Archaeopteryx
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    Archaeopteryx - February 15, 2013 1:18 pm
    Easy. You guys gotta update your arguments. Ready? Those things are not made with the sole intent of killing many people quickly.

    Let me apologize for being snarky though, and ask you an honest question: where do you, and I mean you personally as a citizen of a first-world country, draw the line? Let's say on one side of the spectrum of weapons are swords, nun-chucks and that sort of thing. On the other side are multi-ton bombs and explosive weapons meant to lay waste indiscriminately. I'm guessing you draw the line somewhere in there in terms of what someone could freely purchase, own, and use. Where is that line for you, and what is your reasoning? Again, let me apologize for my earlier tone. I ask you this honestly.
  9. colonel panic
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    colonel panic - February 15, 2013 10:57 am
    I've got news for you. There are many things that can kill lots of people quickly. Are you going to ban gasoline? Hammers? Knives? How about alcohol?-- all it does is damage brain cells and help drunks kill people. In fact, I think we should go after homebrewers and people that drive fast cars because their hobbies kill people! Plus, they don't have a constitutional right or a good reason to brew beer and drive faster than the speed limit.

    Am I the subjugator? Are you an idiot? I said DESCENDANTS -- out of control governments subjugate people and they kill millions. Read your history books-- unarmed civilians are an excellent target for ethnic cleansing.

  10. Trustorybro
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    Trustorybro - February 15, 2013 8:51 am
  11. Archaeopteryx
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    Archaeopteryx - February 14, 2013 8:48 pm
    Soooo, you're the subjugator? By force? What a bizarre way to make a point.

    No one is talking about about taking all the guns away. Repeat: no one is talking about taking all the sexy oily guns away. A large group of first-world citizens are openly considering limiting public access to a sub-class of weapons made to kill many people quickly. What the hell is the problem with that? Are you in favor of limiting access to flamethrowers? Good. So am I.
  12. colonel panic
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    colonel panic - February 14, 2013 4:28 pm
    Great job moms! I'm sure your descendants will appreciate your efforts when they are subjugated by the people that got to keep their guns.
  13. Archaeopteryx
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    Archaeopteryx - February 14, 2013 3:27 pm
    Plastic bag bans do a great job of reducing the number of one-use plastic bags in landfills and as litter. Reducing their access reduces their usage. So, good point!
  14. Harry Mallory
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    Harry Mallory - February 14, 2013 3:00 pm
    Way to go Betsy Close for standing your ground (and ours)! A ban on "assault rifles" would be as about as useful and necessary as a bag ban. Let us dispense with this attempt at a gun grab now and forever.
  15. Archaeopteryx
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    Archaeopteryx - February 14, 2013 2:55 pm
    No one is treading on anything. A group of reasonable people are requesting limited public access to a sub-group of devices made solely for creating many corpses as quickly as possible. That seems a very reasonable request for a citizen of a first-world society.
  16. Bluedawg
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    Bluedawg - February 14, 2013 1:45 pm
    Way to go Moms! As a former owner of a small arsenal, a recovered former member of the NRA, and a former big game and bird hunter I fully support your mission.. Way too many guns in this society, way too easy for anybody to access guns in ths society. Add this father of two young children to your group. Lets insist on common sense gun reforms.
  17. Serve Crow
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    Serve Crow - February 14, 2013 1:16 pm
    Everyone knows that guns don't kill people, it is people that kill people.
    So from this it seems logical that we need to reduce the amount of people in order to reduce gun violence. It is a fact that in areas where there are few people (or none at all) there are very few incidents of gun violence or of any other human on human violence.
    To reduce people we need to go after the manufacturers. Now, while men contribute to making people, it is actually the woman who manage how many people are created. So I propose that woman not be allowed to possess more than one child. If they have more than one child, they must forfeit any additional children to the government for immediate disposal. Woman who are deemed unable to handle a child, should be sterilized to prevent child ownership.
    Furthermore, we should be looking at a long term goal of reducing the overall population of people to zero. This would make the world a much safer place!
    Can I get 300 votes in Corvallis for this? :)
  18. Tuna Noodle
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    Tuna Noodle - February 14, 2013 12:43 pm
    So, which guns do you think we need to look at and for which obvious reasons? Perhaps that will help open the dialogue with this group more than belittling comments will.
  19. BeavFan
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    BeavFan - February 14, 2013 11:54 am
    Another uneducated hen pecking party.

    Just what we need here in Corvallis. I challenge each of these ladies to get educated on firearms and see that firearms are NOT the issue. Has any of these ladies used firearms or owned them? If so, what firearms did they own and operate exactly.

    They want legislation.. for what? Do they truly understand what it is they are talking about?

    No they sure don't.

    Define an "assault weapon". Without "googling" ladies. While your at it ladies, tell me how 5.56mm was designed to kill. A little hint ladies, it was not. It was not designed to kill, but to inflict wounds that would maim and take enemy resources away from battle.

    Tell you what, think of a what a shotgun can do vs an "assault rifle" in a crowded area. Not pretty. Then again, think of what a person can do with a baseball bat on a subway train. Your next sign should be ban baseball bats!

    Tell us how high cap magazines take lives? tick tock... 15round vs 10 round? LOL ok ladies.

    Jumping on the Washington bandwagon of politicians who never owned nor operated a firearm.

    I find it amusing that the weapons they want to ban are not the ones that I actually think we need to look at for obvious reasons. Yes I do in fact think we need something, but directed at the proper issues.

    Go ladies go, beat your drums to Washington. Just don't tread on our constitution and our sovereign rights.That in itself is a crime.


    A firearms owner and safe operator.

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