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Today at Statehouse: Oregon Moms, Gun Violence Survivors Testify in Support of New Gun Safety Bill, Urge Lawmakers to Vote Yes

February 4, 2016

House Bill 4147 Will Strengthen Oregon’s Background Check System by Closing the “Charleston Loophole” and Alerting Law Enforcement When Dangerous People Try to Buy a Gun and Fail a Background Check

PORTLAND, Ore. – Today, volunteers with the Oregon chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and members of the Everytown Survivor Network, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety, will testify at the Oregon statehouse in support of House Bill 4147 during a hearing in the House Judiciary Committee. The bill was introduced earlier this week.

If passed and signed into law, HB 4147 would both close the “Charleston Loophole,” which allows a gun sale to proceed after three business days even if the background check is incomplete, and require state officials to alert law enforcement when an individual prohibited from purchasing a firearm attempts to do so illegally and fails a background check. This provision would provide law enforcement with the information to arrest dangerous people before they can get a gun through other routes.

The survivors testifying include Sharon Risher, whose mother, Ethel Lance, and cousins, Susie Jackson and Tywanza Sanders, were killed in Charleston, South Carolina at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church this past summer; and Paul Kemp, whose brother-in-law was killed at the Clackamas Town Center Mall shooting.

“Since my brother-in-law Steve Forsyth was shot and killed more than three years ago, I’ve committed myself to making Oregon a safer place for everyone’s families, so no one else needs to experience the pain that my sister and our family have endured,” said Paul Kemp, a member of the Everytown Survivor Network whose brother-in-law was killed at the Clackamas Town Center shooting. “I’m an avid hunter and responsible gun owner, and I know there is a lot more we can do to help keep guns out of dangerous hands and save as many lives as possible. That’s why I support HB 4147.”

“Having my mother and two cousins killed while attending church was a devastating act of senseless gun violence. But that pain was compounded by shock when I learned that because of a flaw in our background checks system that allows a gun sale to proceed after three business days, even if the check is incomplete, a dangerous man was able to buy a gun and use it to shoot and kill nine beautiful people,” said Reverend Sharon Risher whose mother Ethel Lance and cousins Susie Jackson and Tywanza Sanders were killed in Charleston at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in June 2015, and member of the Everytown Survivor Network. “Oregon lawmakers have the opportunity before them to help prevent Oregonians from experiencing this same pain and I urge them to protect their neighbors and vote yes on HB 4147.”

“Last spring, volunteers and gun violence survivors from across Oregon came together to help close the unlicensed sale loophole and made Oregon the 18th state to require criminal background checks on all gun sales,” said Kerry Selby, a volunteer with the Oregon chapter of Moms Demand Action. “Passing background checks was a tremendous victory for public safety – but our work didn’t stop there. We’re going to keep working to support safer gun laws and help make Oregon a safer place for everyone.”

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