BELLEVUE, WA – The Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms today called on Multnomah County Circuit Court Judge Kenneth Walker to step down from the bench after launching an anti-gun-rights tirade in court earlier this week in which he stated that firearms “are a scourge of this country and no one should have one as far as I’m concerned.”
“Judge Walker is entitled to his opinion,” said CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb, “but he should not use the bench as a bully pulpit to attack a constitutionally-protected civil right. Just because he had to sentence a criminal to prison for brutally murdering another man in 2014 is no excuse for this kind of rhetoric.”
Judge Walker’s comments came as he sentenced Marcell Lee Daniel Jr. to 17 ½ years in prison for the June 30, 2014 slaying of 24-year-old Andrew Coggins, Jr. on a North Portland sidewalk. Gottlieb said Walker’s remarks seemed to blame the gun, not the man who committed the crime.
The judge declared that if he could, he would “take all the guns in America, put them on big barges and go dump them in the ocean.” And he did not stop there, according to the Portland Oregonian and a YouTube video. He also said, “There’s no defense to guns. 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.”
“But that’s exactly what he did do,” Gottlieb countered. “Judge Walker used his courtroom to campaign against a civil right he is sworn to uphold and defend as an officer of the court. His comments could easily be used by Oregon anti-gunners who are promising to push for a ban on so-called ‘assault weapons’ next year.
“Judge Walker is absolutely wrong about firearms,” he stated. “There are many good reasons for honest citizens to have guns, including self-defense against criminals like the man he just sent to prison. 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.
“At the very least,” Gottlieb concluded, “Judge Walker should apologize for his remarks. If he cannot do that, he should step down. Such an extremist viewpoint is offensive and has no place on the bench.”