As the Oregon legislature returns to Salem for the start of the 2021 legislative session, lawmakers will again have the opportunity to pass common-sense gun safety bills. Gun violence prevention is more important than ever in the new year as the pandemic continues to exacerbate gun violence, and after a year of increased gun sales, continued police violence, increased risk of suicide and domestic violence, and an increase in city gun violence.
State lawmakers delayed their start of session until today due to threats of violence in Salem as President-elect Biden’s inauguration approached. In December, during a special session, security videos showed Rep. Mike Nearman opening the doors to let extremists into the building. Reports indicated extremists assaulted a police officer, broke several windows, and broke down the door.
Top priorities for lawmakers should be to pass secure storage legislation, prohibit open carry at the Capitol, regulate ghost guns, and provide funding for violence intervention groups that are on the frontlines of both the coronavirus pandemic and the gun violence public health crisis.
What to know about gun violence in Oregon:
- On average, over 522 people are shot and killed with a gun every year in the state. Oregon also has the 21st highest rate of gun suicide deaths in the country and over 80% of all gun deaths are firearm suicides.
- In 2020, there were 55 homicides in Portland — which is the most in 26 years. Black people are five times as likely to die by gun homicide as white people.
- Firearms are the third-leading cause of death among children and teens in the state, with an average of 29 firearm deaths among children and teens every year, 68% of which are firearm suicides.
If you are interested in talking to an Oregon Moms Demand Action and/or Students Demand Action volunteer about their priorities, please don’t hesitate to reach out.