Safe Gun Storage Legislation Proposed In Oregon

State of Safety Action, a new Oregon nonprofit formed to pass gun safety legislation, announced it is backing a safe storage law in the Oregon legislature in 2019. State Representative Barbara Smith Warner (Portland) and State Senator James Manning (Eugene) are the chief sponsors of the Cindy Yuille and Steve Forsyth Act, named for the victims of the December 11, 2012 Clackamas Town Center shooting. 

Leadership of State of Safety Action includes the three chief petitioners of Initiative Petition 44, Jenna Yuille, Paul Kemp and Henry Wessinger. The 2018 ballot measure would have required safe storage and other elements now contained in the proposed legislation. The initiative was blocked by the actions of several pro-gun groups, including the National Rifle Association. 

The Cindy Yuille and Steve Forsyth Act will require all gun owners to store their weapons responsibly, preventing child access and reducing the likelihood of their guns being stolen. This directly addresses the situation that led to the deaths of Cindy Yuille and Steve Forsyth. 

“The weapon that took my mom’s life was unsecured and taken from its owner’s home,” said Jenna Yuille, State of Safety Action Director. “If it had been properly locked and stored, my mom might still be here today. It’s been six years since my mother was killed and, so far, Oregon has failed to put into effect any law that would have prevented that shooting. We believe that should change in 2019.”

“Once we realized that Initiative Petition 44 would be blocked, we were determined to create a permanent and broad-based coalition for reducing gun violence and improving gun safety in Oregon,” said Henry Wessinger, State of Safety Action President. “Safe storage is supported by the majority of Oregonians and a majority of gun owners in Oregon. With the legislative leadership shown by Rep. Smith Warner and Sen. Manning, we will pass the Cindy Yuille and Steve Forsyth Act in the 2019 legislature.” 

Representative Smith Warner represents Oregon House District 45, which includes Northeast Portland, the city of Maywood Park and the Parkrose area. Her extensive volunteer work in her children's public schools is what inspired her to seek office. Senator Manning represents North Eugene, West Eugene, Santa Clara and Junction City. Before joining the legislature, he worked as a state corrections officer, a police officer and served in the United States Army. He is known in the Oregon legislature as a champion for veterans.

“I am a gun owner and have been for most of my life,” said Paul Kemp, State of Safety Action Director and Steve Forsyth’s brother-in-law. “Responsible gun owners always safely secure their weapons when not being carried. It is time that all gun owners do that. There have to be consequences for those reckless and careless gun owners who don’t secure their firearms.”

Joining Yuille, Kemp and Wessinger in leading State of Safety Action is Board Chair Lisa Reynolds, a pediatrician who has been active in the Oregon chapter of Moms Demand Action. 

“Oregon lost 14 children and teens last year to firearm suicide. We know that if these kids had not had access to a gun, almost always a gun in their own homes, they would most likely be alive today,” said Reynolds. “Suicide is an impulsive act–most people try to kill themselves within 10 minutes of deciding to do so. If they have access to a gun, 85-90% die. If they do not have access to a gun and they try a different method of suicide, most of these people survive. And of those who survive a suicide attempt, more than 90% do not go on to end their lives by suicide.”

The proposed law would require:

Storing firearms when not in use

  When a firearm is not on someone’s person, the individual must secure it with a lock or in a locked container. Failing to secure a firearm would not be a crime; the consequence would be an offense – similar to a speeding ticket. A person who does not properly secure a firearm could receive a fine of up to $500.

Securing firearms during transfer to another person

  A person must lock a firearm or lock the firearm in a container when delivering the firearm to another person. A person who transfers an unsecured firearm could receive a fine of up to $500.

Reporting lost and stolen guns

  A person must report a loss or theft of the person’s firearm to a law enforcement agency where the loss or theft occurred within 24 hours of when the person knew or should have known of the loss or theft. Failing to timely report a lost or stolen firearm would be an offense, similar to a speeding ticket. A person who does make a timely report could receive a fine of up to $1,000.

Supervision of children with firearms

  When an adult gives a minor access to a gun and the minor does not own the gun, that person must directly supervise the child’s use of the firearm.

  If a person fails to supervise that minor’s use of a gun, they are held strictly liable for any civil damages that occur if that child causes harm to a person or property, except in cases where the weapon is used in self-defense or in defense of another individual.

About State of Safety Action

We are committed to working with stakeholders from across our state to build consensus to pass smarter gun laws, reducing gun violence. We welcome all voices and perspectives in the conversation about how we can make our communities safer. State of Safety Action has applied for 501(c)(4) status and is based in Oregon. For more information visit www.stateofsafetyaction.org.

Source: State of Safety Action

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