Tough Gun Control Laws Move Closer to 2020 Ballot

A measure proposing the strictest gun storage and transportation laws in the country moved a step closer to next year’s ballot last week.

On Wednesday, the advocacy group State of Safety delivered and submitted 2,000 signatures in an effort to place a measure on the 2020 ballot. The signatures were delivered with the help from Carol Manstrum, whose 18 year-old son shot himself with his father’s unsecured gun, and Paul Kemp, whose brother was shot with a stolen AR-15.

The law would require guns to be locked up with a cable or trigger lock, or placed in a locked container. It would also require that lost or stolen firearms must be reported within 24 hours, or the violator of the law would be made liable for injuries caused by any unsecured weapons. There is an exception within the law in the cases of self-defense or defense of another person.

Each violation of the proposed law would carry fines of up to $2,000.

If this law is passed, many are optimistic it wiuold decrease gun-related deaths throughout the state.

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

Suicides account for 85% of gun deaths in Oregon, said Oregon State Rep. Alissa Keny-Guyer, a Portland Democrat. The national rate is around 66 percent according to Allison Anderman, managing attorney at Giffords, a gun-control advocacy group.

However, there are other groups that put themselves in staunch opposition of the law. Many of whom are saying that the law would be an infringement upon gun rights.

The Oregon Firearms Federation, which disagrees with the measure, says the liability places an unfair burden on the gun owner.

“I want to be able to defend myself and family without asking the perpetrator to stop until I unlock my gun,” Jeffrey Slaughter, of Woodburn, told lawmakers.

The supporters of this measure have passed their first obstacle, but they will still need to collect 112,020 valid signatures by July 2020 to secure placement of the measure on the ballot in November.

By Mariah Price