The Oregon chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety, released the following statements after the Oregon House Health Care Committee passed HB 2510, legislation to require firearms be securely stored when not in use.
“Even in a pandemic, our communities are continuing to endure gun violence everyday,” said Elizabeth Klein, a gun violence survivor and volunteer for the Oregon chapter of Moms Demand Action. “And, unintentional shootings and gun suicides have continued to rise over the past year. Secure storage is an effective and easy way to help prevent these tragedies. We are grateful to the committee for advancing this legislation and look forward to it appearing on the House floor.”
“Gun violence is one of the leading causes of death for people my age,” said Hope Williams, a volunteer with Students Demand Action in Oregon. “We want to feel safe at home and in our communities and that starts with securely storing firearms to prevent gun violence.”
Secure storage legislation can prevent unintentional shootings and gun suicides among children and teens. According to the #NotAnAccident Index, which tracks unintentional shootings by children since 2015, nearly 350 children in the U.S. under the age of 18 gain access to a firearm and unintentionally shoot themselves or someone else each year — equaling almost one unintentional shooting per day. Another 662 children die by gun suicide each year, most often using guns belonging to a family member.
Keeping firearms locked, unloaded, and separate from ammunition can save lives. In fact, a 2019 study estimated that if half of households with children switched from leaving their guns unlocked to responsibly storing them all locked, one-third of youth gun suicides and unintentional deaths could be prevented – saving an estimated 251 lives in a single year.
Earlier this afternoon, the Oregon House Judiciary Committee passed HB 2543, a bill to close the deadly “Charleston Loophole” which allows a gun sale to proceed if the background check takes longer than three business days. With gun sales rising and the Oregon background check system overwhelmed during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s more important than ever to make sure that people who shouldn’t have firearms aren’t able to bypass the background check system. Background checks that take longer than three business days are four times more likely to result in a denial.
Firearms are the second leading cause of death among children and teens in Oregon. Every year, over 500 people die by guns in Oregon.