The Oregon chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety, released the following statements after the Oregon House Rules Committee passed SB 554 A, legislation that would allow local governments and school districts to prohibit firearms in public buildings and require firearms be securely stored when not in use.
“Secure storage saves lives,” said Hilary Uhlig, a volunteer for the Oregon chapter of Moms Demand Action. “We have been working on passing this life-saving legislation for years. We are proud to stand with our lawmakers on this common-sense gun safety measure that will help prevent unintentional shootings, gun suicides, and school shootings.”
“We know what happens when guns are added to our democracy and our schools,” said Ella Dreke, a volunteer with Students Demand Action in Oregon. “We need to prevent guns in these sensitive areas to keep our communities safe.”
Secure storage legislation can prevent unintentional shootings and gun suicides among children and teens. According to the #NotAnAccident Index, which tracks unintentional shootings by children since 2015, nearly 350 children in the U.S. under the age of 18 gain access to a firearm and unintentionally shoot themselves or someone else each year — equaling almost one unintentional shooting per day. Another 662 children die by gun suicide each year, most often using guns belonging to a family member.
Guns have no place in our schools or in public buildings where people participate in democracy. Currently, local and school officials in Oregon are forced to allow the carrying of loaded firearms into government buildings and all public Oregon schools including grades K-12 and most areas of college campuses. Research shows that having guns in schools is risky and dangerous. From 2013 to 2019, Everytown identified 549 incidents of gunfire on school grounds. Of these, 347 occurred on the grounds of an elementary, middle, or high school, resulting in 129 deaths and 270 people wounded. Schools should have the choice to prohibit firearms on campus.
Armed extremism in democracy is not new for Oregon. During the December special session, armed extremists descended on the Oregon State Capitol. Security footage shows Rep. Mike Nearman opening the door to let extremists into the building. In January, the Oregon legislature decided to delay the start of session due to threats of violence in Salem as President-elect Biden’s inauguration approached.
Firearms are the second leading cause of death among children and teens in Oregon. Every year, over 500 people die by guns in Oregon.