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Other Views: No need for guns

Oregon's liquor inspectors can have badges, batons, body armor, handcuffs and pepper spray. They also want guns.

They want to form a union to give themselves a better platform to argue for guns. But a state administrative judge has ruled against a group called the Oregon Liquor Control Commission Peace Officers Association from forming its own union.

Whether they have their own union or not, they need to prove they need guns. The OLCC doesn't see the need.

We don't doubt inspectors can get involved in hostile situations and feel unsafe. The few examples they have offered don't warrant arming them. One inspector told the Portland Mercury he had a beer dumped on him. Another arrested a drunk who was carrying a concealed weapon.

The group also argued because its members function like police, members should be subject to the same anti-strike provisions as police.

Why would a group give up the right to strike?

Public employers are basically compelled to keep raising salaries and benefits for employees who can't strike. That's to get employees across the state with below average salaries and benefits closer to the average. That just keeps moving the average up — regardless of what's going on in the economy.

There is no doubt that Oregon's liquor inspectors play an important role in enforcing liquor laws. But they aren't so vital to society that they should never be allowed to go on strike. And they have failed to prove the OLCC needs to arm them.