LANE COUNTY, Ore. (KMTR) - The battle over gun rights versus gun control heats up in Oregon and one man who served in the U.S. Army says he refuses to give up his rights.
After the tragic shooting at Clackamas Town Center outside Portland and a recent second amendment rally in Salem, Oregon is now trying to put a ban on all assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.
Don Espy is a proud American and a United States Army veteran. He lives in an area where he hunts to put food on the table and, if needed, would use his guns to protect his family.
If Congress enforces laws preventing him from providing for his family, he says he is prepared to face the consequences. "I fought for a lot of people I didn't know - Republicans, Democrats. I still stuck my life on the line because I love America," said Espy.
That love for the stars and stripes is fueling his fire in the ongoing gun debate raging across the country. "It is their God-given right to state what they want or have what they want to have," said Espy.
It is his Second Amendment right and one he refuses to let go, regardless of the law. "I'll stick beside the National Rifle Association for the rest of my life. I'll fight for my right," said Espy.
The gauntlet has already been thrown down.
"A Second Amendment right does not trump my First Amendment right to free speech and democracy," said Executive Director of Ceasefire Oregon, Penny Okamoto.
During a recent rally in Salem, Okamoto told KMTR NewsSource 16 she's not looking for guns to be taken away, but does want change. "A ban on high-capacity magazines [of] more than ten bullets and a ban on assault weapons, which would be semi-automatics," said Okamoto.
She is also in favor of universal background checks and keeping kids and the community safe. "If a minor accesses a weapon without parental permission, then the gun owner is going to be held criminally responsible," said Okamoto.
These bills are currently being introduced while others are still in legislative council. That being said, Espy will not give up his right to bear arms. He is free to choose his own path, but he can’t choose the consequences that come with it.
Under the bill prohibiting high-capacity ammunition magazines, violators could go to jail for a up to a year and face a fine of more than $6,000.
The bill prohibiting assault weapons is still being drafted, so it's unclear what the potential penalties will be.
NewsSource 16 spoke with the Lane County Sheriffs’ Office about how they would enforce these new laws if passed.
Sheriff Tom Turner released a statement saying he has taken an oath to uphold the Constitution and Oregon state law and that he'll follow new gun laws while asking for the community's cooperation.
Despite this, Espy is not afraid and not deterred. He says it’s not the gun that kills people, it is people who kill people. "The number one issue is the mentally ill. That is the number one issue they need to focus on," said Espy.
It could be months - even years - before Oregon sees any gun law changes. When push comes to shove, Espy will protect and provide for the ones he loves, just as he did while serving in the military.
Espy isn't the only one rebelling; there have also been reports of sheriff offices around Oregon that plan on following their own orders instead of President Obama's Executive Order.