SALEM, Ore. – Everytown for Gun Safety and the Oregon chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America today applaud Governor Kate Brown as she signed Senate Bill 941, legislation to require criminal background checks on all handgun sales. This victory, just six months after voters in Washington State passed background checks by ballot measure, makes Oregon the 18th state in the country to require background checks on all handgun sales. The law takes effect immediately, and background checks will be required on all transfers—with some exceptions, as outlined in the bill—in 90 days.
A coalition of Oregonians including moms, mayors, law enforcement, gun violence survivors, gun owners, veterans, faith leaders, students, public health experts and other gun violence prevention advocates came together to support SB 941, and many advocates joined Governor Kate Brown today for a signing ceremony.
“Today is a day to celebrate. This afternoon Governor Kate Brown signed legislation that puts the safety of Oregonians ahead of the interests of the gun lobby and closed the loophole that made it easy for dangerous people to get guns in our state,” said Anneliese Davis, volunteer chapter leader with the Oregon chapter of Moms Demand Action. “I am so grateful for everyone who has worked toward this victory: From the volunteers who worked to elect a gun sense majority in the Oregon legislature, to those who showed up at the statehouse to testify, and directed thousands of calls and emails to lawmakers demanding our representatives pass the background checks that 81 percent of Oregonians support. Background checks keep guns out of dangerous hands, and they go hand-in-hand with respect for the Second Amendment.”
Everytown research has found that background checks are proven to help prevent crime and save lives. In states with background checks on all handgun sales, 46 percent fewer women are killed by intimate partners, there are 48 percent fewer gun suicides, and 48 percent fewer law enforcement officers are killed with handguns.
“I applaud Governor Kate Brown and our legislators who supported this bill. Thanks to their leadership, it will soon be much more difficult for criminals in Oregon to get guns,” said Retired Portland Police Chief Mike Reese. “Today is a great day for law enforcement and all Oregonians. Background checks save lives.”
“We did it. I wish that my mom could be here today—she’s the reason I have worked to support this bill, and I know she would be so proud of all of us,” says Jenna Yuille, whose mother Cindy Yuille was killed at the Clackamas Town Center shooting in 2012. “Universal background checks are going to save lives. I don’t want any other family to have to go through what my family has gone through. And that’s why commitment to this issue does not stop here. Background checks are a wonderful first step in the right direction, and I look forward to continuing to work with this coalition of gun safety advocates to make our communities safer.”
The victory in Oregon today is the latest in a series of defeats for the gun lobby in state legislatures across the country including the failure of NRA-backed priorities like guns in schools and permitless carry bills. As Everytown and Moms Demand Action have become the counterweight to the gun lobby, bills the NRA supports have been introduced and failed including efforts to force guns on campus in Arkansas, Florida, South Dakota, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming. Further, NRA-backed legislation to let people carry hidden, loaded guns in public without a permit have been defeated already in Montana, South Dakota, Utah, and West Virginia – and a veto is expected on a permitless carry bill in New Hampshire soon.