My View: Safe gun storage law will save lives
Following the two mass shooting tragedies from the weekend of Aug. 3, it's important that we take a moment to recognize our collective trauma. We are crushed by these senseless deaths from gun violence. Every American should pause and think about what they can be doing to prevent future deaths from gun violence.
As the board chairs of State of Safety and State of Safety Action respectively, we believe that passing safe gun storage is the most meaningful action we can take here in Oregon to prevent more lives from being lost due to gun violence. From 2010-14, 83% of firearm fatalities in Oregon were from suicide. Requiring guns to be safely stored will limit a person's access to a gun during a moment of crisis, reducing the number of people who die by suicide every year.
Currently, Oregon has no clear standards for how guns should be stored. By passing a safe gun storage policy, we can reduce the risk of school shootings, unintentional shootings and gun suicides. The policy that we're supporting, The Cindy Yuille and Steve Forsyth Act, will require the safe storage of guns, the supervision of minors when they are in possession of a firearm and prompt reporting of lost or stolen guns to law enforcement. Laws like this have been passed in other states and they've reduced gun violence and total deaths from suicide.
Named for Cindy Yuille and Steve Forsyth, who were killed in the Clackamas Town Center shooting in 2012, the Act was House Bill 2505 in the 2019 Oregon Legislative Session. We were disappointed but not discouraged that, despite having strong support in both chambers, the Legislature did not pass safe gun storage in 2019.
We remain committed to passing safe gun storage in 2020. State of Safety Action will be pursuing safe storage legislation through the 2020 legislative session, as well as a ballot measure for the November 2020 election — in case the Legislature doesn't pass safe storage during the spring 2020 session. For Oregonians to be safe in their communities, we need to enact sensible gun policies like this one. Requiring safe gun storage will save lives.
There is a lot more to do after we pass safe storage, and there's a lot that needs to be done that Oregon can't accomplish alone. We need the federal government to take action. We need comprehensive background checks and red flag laws, like we've put in place in Oregon. We need restrictions on assault weapons and magazine capacity as well as nationwide safe storage requirements. We need all of these policies to truly make dramatic, country-wide reductions in gun violence.
We know what we need to do to make Oregon, and our country, safer. We know that states with stronger gun laws see reductions in gun deaths and gun injuries. We need to come together to push for meaningful action from our lawmakers at the local and federal level, and supporting safe gun storage legislation in Oregon is the best next step.
We invite you to join our movement to support evidence-based policies to reduce gun violence, and our campaign to pass safe gun storage in 2020. Visit StateofSafety.org and StateofSafetyAction.org to learn more about our work, and become part of the movement to make Oregon safer for everyone.
Lois Seed is board chairwoman of State of Safety. Lisa Reynolds is board chairwoman of State of Safety Action. Both are Portland residents.
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