AR-15s, clean air and an easy read

• We’re all searching for ways to control guns and stop this senseless violence in America. Here are five organizations you can plug into today: Indivisible Eugene, Moms Demand Gun Sense, Courage to End Gun Violence, Everytown and the Brady Campaign.

• How hard is it to buy an AR-15 in Oregon? Depressingly easy. AR-15s were used in the mass shootings in Las Vegas, Orlando and Parkland, to name a few horrible attacks. Oregon doesn’t have a waiting period for purchasing a gun. Minors under 18 can’t buy a rifle, but their parents can give them one. Oregon has no law regulating assault weapons, and in fact many argue the semi-automatic AR-15 is not an assault rifle (and AR doesn’t stand for assault rifle, it refers to Armalite, which developed the AR-15). Back in 1994, President Bill Clinton’s assault-weapons ban outlawed the AR-15, but gun manufacturers circumvented it by modifying the guns. That ban expired in 2004. Let’s bring the ban back, in Oregon and across the country.

• One of the most moving stories in the Feb. 18 Register-Guard was the long obituary of Kavous Seyed-Emami, who died this month in a Tehran prison. He received his doctorate in sociology from the University of Oregon in 1991, before returning to his native Iran to teach and fight for the amazing environment of that country, a fight that the obit says resulted in his death in prison. His many friends in Eugene are holding a celebration of life 2-4 pm Feb. 24 in the Gerlinger Alumni Lounge at the UO.

• The fight over cleaner air in Oregon in this short session of the Legislature is especially troublesome, in part because the public seems to know so little about such an important issue. The City Club of Eugene offered a program on Feb. 16 to give Lisa Arkin, executive director of Beyond Toxics, and Merlyn Hough, director of the Lane Regional Air Protection Agency, time to tell the story. The Oregonian in Portland also recently laid out the ugly details, including Koch brothers money coming into this state to influence the quality of the air we breathe. Oregon, of all places, should be a leader in air quality, but it will take stronger leadership than we have in the Legislature, especially the Senate.

• What we’re reading: Make Trouble by John Waters is his 2017 address to graduates of the Rhode Island School of Design. It’s a quick read, a perfect little escape from the news of the day.

• The White House should be called the “West Wing Boys Choir,” our political junkie friend observing the Mueller investigation tells us. Why? Because they’re all going to sing like canaries. We hope so.

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