Process Begins To Put Gun Storage Measure On Oregon's Ballot

2,000 Sponsorship signatures for the safe gun storage measure, Initiative Petition 40, were submitted to the Oregon Secretary of State’s office Wednesday. Volunteers collected twice the required number of signatures in a coalition-based effort led by State of Safety Action. If enacted into law, the measure will be known as the Cindy Yuille and Steve Forsyth Act, named for two victims of the 2012 Clackamas Town Center Shooting.

“Our coalition knows that enacting a safe storage law in Oregon will start saving lives as soon as it’s passed,” said Henry Wessinger, IP 40 chief petitioner and president of State of Safety Action. “Working together, Oregon can pass safe gun storage in 2020 which will significantly improve our State of Safety.”

Safe gun storage has broad support from legislators, teachers, and advocates for child welfare. Participants at a press conference hosted by State of Safety Action held prior to submitting the signatures included State Representatives Alissa Keny-Guyer, Rachel Prusak, and Janeen Sollman; Oregon PTA president Kristi Dille; and Portland Association of Teachers Vice President Elizabeth Thiel.

“I fought for passage of this policy in 2019, and I won’t give up in 2020,” said Rachel Prusak, who represents Tualatin and West Linn. “Steve Forsyth, one of the persons the act is named for, died in the Clackamas Town Center shooting. This act could have saved Steve's life. His widow, children and father live in my district. They and other family members of gun violence victims are who will be in my heart and mind when safe storage becomes law in Oregon.”

Initiative Petition 40 details the obligations for an owner or possessor of firearms with regards to safe storage and reporting lost or stolen firearms:

● Firearms must be secured with a trigger or cable lock or in a locked container when the firearm is not carried by or under the person’s direct control.

● Firearms must be transferred in a locked container, or with a trigger or cable lock engaged.

● A lost or stolen firearm must be reported within 24 hours of the time a person knew or should have known about the loss or theft.

● Apart from firearms owned by the minor, or minors engaged in hunting who hold a valid youth hunting license, a minor may not carry or control another person’s firearm unless the use of the firearm is being directly supervised.

● Except in matters of self-defense or defense of another person, a person whose violation of this measure results in injury to person or property is strictly liable for the injury.

● Each firearm owned, possessed or transferred in violation of this measure constitutes a separate violation. Violations range from Class C Violations to Class A Violations and carry fines from up to $500 to up to $2,000 per violation.

Leadership of the coalition to pass safe gun storage includes Steve Forsyth’s brother-in-law and State of Safety Action board member, Paul Kemp. “Safe gun storage will set a standard in Oregon for responsible gun ownership,” said Kemp. “Most gun owners already meet that standard, but by creating a culture where all gun owners in Oregon do, we’ll be able to save lives and make our communities safer.”

Also speaking at today's press conference was Carol Manstrom, a Lane County resident who lost her 18 year-old son to suicide after a loaded handgun was left unsecured and within easy access. “The Second Amendment does not absolve gun owners of personal responsibility for careless or reckless behavior,” said Manstrom. “A gun should only be accessible to its lawful owner. In the wrong hands guns are inherently dangerous. We need to clearly establish in law the expectation that guns be safely stored so they cannot be accessed by people who are a danger to themselves or others. I am proud to be here today supporting this important initiative.”

With the submission of the signatures, the Attorney General’s ballot title drafting process now begins. To ensure placement on the 2020 ballot, 112,020 signatures are required by July 2, 2020. State of Safety Action will coordinate the collection of signatures after a ballot title is issued, and will also work towards passing safe gun storage during the 2020 legislative session.

Source: State of Safety Action

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