Today, the Oregon legislature returned to Salem for the start of the 2022 legislative session. This year, lawmakers have the chance to pass critical gun safety legislation. Gun violence prevention is more important than ever in the new year as the pandemic continues to exacerbate gun violence. In 2021, Portland had a record year of gun violence with more than 90 homicides — making it the worst year of gun violence since 1987. These elevated numbers are not limited to Portland. Across the state gun violence of all types has ravaged communities. In Oregon, 81% of gun deaths are suicides, and of the 11 congressional districts nationwide with more than 100 gun suicides a year, two of them are in Oregon.
During the 2021 legislative session, Governor Brown signed legislation to allow the state capitol, airports, schools and universities to prohibit firearms in their buildings and require firearms be securely stored when not in use – making it the first gun safety bill passed in Oregon in years. Since the passage, Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action volunteers have helped implement the policy in the Hillsboro, Bend, and Lake Oswego school districts.
This year, lawmakers should focus on addressing the gun violence crisis in the state by allocating additional funding for violence intervention programs. The funding would support community-based violence intervention programs that apply a localized approach to reducing gun violence in Oregon’s hardest-hit neighborhoods and communities. Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action volunteers will be supporting a funding package for these programs in the legislative budget and HB 4045, legislation to legislation to ensure Medicaid covers violence intervention services provided in hospitals after someone suffers a violent injury and continues to be at risk.
What to know about gun violence in Oregon:
- In Oregon, on average, 544 people are shot and killed with a gun every year, and more than 412 more are wounded. In the last decade, gun homicide has increased 72% in the state.
- Firearms are the second-leading cause of death among children and teens in Oregon. Over 60 % of gun violence involving children and teens is gun suicide.
- Gun violence costs Oregon $3.3 billion each year, of which $81.5 million is paid by taxpayers.
Statistics about gun violence in Oregon are available here. Everytown’s interactive gun law platform — which shows the direct correlation between the strength of a state’s gun laws and its rate of gun deaths — is available here. The tool shows that Oregon scores 54 out of 100 for gun law strength. If you have questions, or to request an interview with a volunteer from Oregon Moms Demand Action or Students Demand Action, please don’t hesitate to reach out.