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Shameful: Session Comes to an End, Secure Storage Legislation Left Sitting on House Floor as a Result of Republican State Legislators’ Walkout

March 11, 2020

On Sunday, Oregon lawmakers gaveled out of the 2020 legislative session, failing to pass common-sense gun safety legislation like House Bill 4005, a bill to ensure the secure storage of firearms. The end of session comes after Republican legislators abandoned their duties at the statehouse and waged a two-week walkout, which prevented HB 4005 and scores of other bills from moving forward. 

“It’s shameful that lawmakers walked out on Oregon families,” said Maria Faria, a volunteer with the Oregon chapter of Moms Demand Action. “Make no mistake, we have not given up on this fight. We’ll continue to advocate for secure storage laws in Oregon to keep our families and our communities safe.”  

In February, dozens of volunteers with the Oregon chapter of Moms Demand Action arrived at the statehouse for a scheduled “second reading” of House Bill 4005 — only to find empty seats and absent lawmakers at the State Capitol. 

The House reading of the bill – and subsequent House vote – was originally slated to take place on the heels of the Oregon chapter’s annual advocacy day, where more than 200 Oregon Moms Demand Action volunteers rallied at the statehouse and held more than 75 meetings with lawmakers urging them to support HB 4005.

Here’s what lawmakers left on the floor by failing to pass HB 4005: 

  • Secure storage reduces the risk of gun violence, particularly among children, by preventing unintentional shootings and gun suicides. However, in Oregon, there is currently no requirement that gun owners secure their firearms. HB 4005 would require that all firearms be securely stored by locking them away or by requiring that each firearm be affixed with a secure lock when it is not being used by the owner.  
  • According to the #NotAnAccident Index, which tracks unintentional shootings by children since 2015, nearly 350 American children under the age of 18 gain access to a firearm and unintentionally shoot themselves or someone else each year — equalling almost one unintentional shooting per day. Another 637 children die by gun suicide each year, most often using guns belonging to a family member. 
  • 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. In Oregon, firearms are the second-leading cause of death among children and teens, with an average of 29 firearm deaths every year and 69 percent of those deaths being firearm suicides. 

More information about secure storage legislation here. Statistics about gun violence in Oregon are available here, and information on how Oregon’s gun laws compare to other states’ overall is available here

If you have any questions, or would like to speak with volunteers with Oregon Moms Demand Action, Students Demand Action or survivors of gun violence, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

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