In the wake of the verdict and now sentencing of Ian Cranston for the killing of Barry Washington outside a bar in Bend in September 2021, Cranston has become a martyr of sorts among the people who believe that he was simply "a white man defending himself" against a purportedly stronger (and outnumbered) Black man who dared to compliment Cranston's girlfriend. The case has caused aggrieved white people to hop onto forums as far-flung as Alex Jones' Infowars, somehow making a leap in their minds that a fistfight where three people—Cranston, his friend and Cranston's girlfriend—stood against one was not enough for Cranston to prove his point—that only death should have been the sentence for Washington's sin of persistent flirting. It's disturbing to watch, and we empathize with Washington's family for having to endure the verbal and written assaults that have cropped up throughout the trial.
When we contemplate the tragedy of that evening, here's something to think about: Had Oregon had common sense laws in place that barred people with concealed-carry permits from bringing their guns into bars or better yet, barred people from carrying them while drinking, none of this might have occurred. We don't see Cranston as a victim, but for those who do, they should take a hard look at how basic laws that are in place in dozens of other states could have kept this situation from happening. Yes, it really is the guns.
During the trial, Cranston admitted that he'd been instructed during his concealed-carry training that it was inadvisable to carry while drinking. Cranston said in court that while he'd remembered that instruction in class, he thought it was more of a "suggestion." He remembered the advice and ignored it. What could have happened if he'd been instructed during that class that it was actually illegal to drink and carry a gun? Cranston, who demonstrated some willingness to abide by the law in his comments in court, may have taken a different tack. He might have walked away with a few bruises and Washington might still be alive.
As it stands, private business owners have the right to ban people from carrying a concealed weapon in their business. Local businesses could opt to do this individually, as The Capitol has done following the death of Washington, or they could band together to make a stand and ban the practice locally. We would support that.
But a more comprehensive option would be to introduce a law in the Oregon Legislative Assembly, in honor of Washington, that prohibits people from combining drinking and concealed-carrying.