On Wednesday, dozens of volunteers with the Oregon chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, a part of Everytown for Gun Safety, arrived at the statehouse for a scheduled “second reading” of House Bill 4005 – secure storage legislation – only to find empty seats and absent lawmakers at the State Capitol.
The House reading of the bill was to take place on the heels of the Oregon chapter’s annual advocacy day, where more than 200 Oregon Moms Demand Action volunteers rallied at the statehouse and held more than 75 meetings with lawmakers urging them to support HB 4005. A full vote on the bill was expected shortly after the reading.
Instead, Tuesday’s walkout prevented the bill from moving forward. Despite the walkout, Oregon volunteers with Moms Demand Action have vowed to continue working to advance this critical legislation.
Here’s why Moms Demand Action volunteers are advocating for secure storage legislation in Oregon:
- Secure storage reduces the risk of gun violence, particularly among children, by preventing unintentional shootings and gun suicides. However, in Oregon, there is currently no requirement that gun owners secure their firearms. HB 4005 would require that all firearms be securely stored by locking them away or by requiring that each firearm be affixed with a secure lock when it is not being used by the owner.
- According to the #NotAnAccident Index, which tracks unintentional shootings by children since 2015, nearly 350 American children under the age of 18 gain access to a firearm and unintentionally shoot themselves or someone else each year — equalling almost one unintentional shooting per day. Another 637 children die by gun suicide each year, most often using guns belonging to a family member.
- A 2019 study estimated that if half of households with children switched from leaving their guns unlocked to responsibly storing them all locked, one-third of youth gun suicides and unintentional deaths could be prevented – saving an estimated 251 lives in a single year. In Oregon, firearms are the second-leading cause of death among children and teens, with an average of 29 firearm deaths every year and 69 percent of those deaths being firearm suicides.
Here are some photos from the Oregon volunteers on the House floor:
More information about secure storage legislation here. Statistics about gun violence in Oregon are available here, and information on how Oregon’s gun laws compare to other states’ overall is available here.
If you have any questions, or would like to speak with volunteers with Oregon Moms Demand Action, Students Demand Action or survivors of gun violence, please don’t hesitate to reach out.