Oregon gubernatorial candidate Betsy Johnson sparked furor from the crowd at TEDxPortland when the pro-NRA candidate took the stage just days after the horrific mass shooting at Robb Elementary School left 19 children and 2 teachers dead.
Johnson, who left the Oregon Democratic Party over several differences with their platform, is a self-proclaimed “unabashed defender of gun rights” who often voted differently than other members of her former party on the issue. Now running as an Independent, Johnson has refused to waver from her pro-gun stance, and her surprise appearance at TEDxPortland Saturday morning (which had actually been booked weeks ago) quickly went off the rails after shouts from the audience demanding she address gun control.
Johnson has received favorable ratings from the National Rifle Association. And the Oregon Firearms Federation, the state’s most hardline gun rights group, wrote in a recent post that “one thing Johnson most certainly has been, is strongly and unapologetically pro-gun.”
Time & again, Betsy Johnson voted against "laws to keep guns out of the wrong hands":
❌SB 941: Expanded background checks to all gun sales
❌SB 719: Created Extreme Risk Protection Orders
❌HB2013: Prevents convicted domestic abusers & stalkers from possessing guns#ORpol #ORleg https://t.co/UpytsmDN0D
— Rep. Julie Fahey (@juliefahey) May 26, 2022
Videos from the event show the moderator attempting to quiet the crowd while not challenging her takes. At least one person reported being escorted out of the event for yelling questions at Johnson.
PART 2: Johnson mentioned being a gun owner and representing gun owners in her district before turning the answer to thoughts on the mental health crisis, which sparked some cheers but also more frustration for some #TEDxPDX @KGWNews #Audac10us pic.twitter.com/5IQbwrSfqR
— Evan Watson (@EvanWatsonNews) May 28, 2022
If Johnson, who has raised millions of dollars, can collect the 23,744 signatures she needs, she’ll face former Democratic Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek and former House Minority Leader Christine Drazan, a Republican. Kotek has been a supporter of gun control laws, while Drazan and Johnson last year voted against a bill mandating safe storage of guns when not in use. Johnson has also opposed bills allowing courts to confiscate the guns of someone deemed high risk, and requiring background checks for private gun sales.
Just walked out of @TEDxPortland because they brought the candidate who is against criminal justice reform, environmental/climate progress, and every gun violence prevention bill. WTF? Why are you giving Betsy Johnson a free platform? Audacious my ass. #TEDxPortland
— Amie Wexler (@am_wex) May 28, 2022