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I’m blessed to live in gratitude in Southern Oregon.

Southern Oregon coast. (Kathleen Kenna photo)

Southern Oregon coastline: This state is beautiful, tough and independent. (Kathleen Kenna photo)

Since we moved to this state more than two years ago, I’ve been grateful for its independent spirit.

Today, I’m especially grateful for the courage of Oregon’s two senators for voting for a common sense gun bill that some of their fellow Democrats and most Republicans refused to support.

54 senators for/46 against, minimal improvements in background checks on gun shoppers. 

Faced with the big-money influence of the NRA, many senators apparently feared for their jobs if they voted yesterday to protect we, the people.

Not Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden.

They’re from a gun state, where 2nd Amendment rights and responsible gun ownership are hard-held truths.

(Guns are so big here, some citizens prance in public — for TV cameras too — with their weapons slung over their torsos. This causes some alarm among teachers and little school kids, but evidently not urban police or rural sheriffs, who appear to take a liberal interpretation of concealed weapon permits.)

Guns are so prevalent in Southern Oregon, they’re the first item one sees for sale at my local supermarket.

I was especially impressed by the pink rifle that went unsold for almost a year — then disappeared when the current gun control debate fired up after the Newtown shootings.

Big banners for ammunition and guns were draped for awhile on the exterior wall of the big department store down the street, soon after President Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech about the need for post-Newtown, common sense gun laws.

Oregon’s background checks for gun buyers are tougher than federal laws, so Merkley and Wyden know their constituents are behind them.

They don’t have to listen to the 90% of Americans who tell pollsters they want better laws on weapons of war being carried on our streets by permit-holding citizens.

All they have to do is listen to the responsible people who use guns and own guns in their home state.

Not sure about those two permit holders who paraded past an Oregon kindergarten with legal guns, sparking an instant lockdown and terrifying youngsters.