Gabby Giffords & Oregon Leaders Announce New “Oregon State Coalition for Common Sense” to Urge State’s Elected Officials to Act to Reduce Gun Violence

February 19, 2016 – Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, the Co-Founder of Americans for Responsible Solutions, joined with Oregon leaders in Portland today to announce the “Oregon Coalition for Common Sense,” a new coalition that will urge the state’s leaders in Salem to do more to keep guns out of the wrong hands and prevent gun tragedies.

The coalition will focus on commonsense solutions that will help make Oregon families safer from gun violence, like:

  1. Protect children from unintentional shootings by ensuring gun owners are required to safely store their guns in their home when they know children may have access to the area, and to hold gun owners accountable when their failure to secure their guns results in a tragedy.
  2. Prevent people experiencing a mental health crisis from temporarily accessing guns by providing clear processes for families and law enforcement to ensure that person can’t get their hands on a gun.
  3. Strengthen our existing gun background checks system by ensuring Oregon’s leaders make critical investments in the reporting of records to the system, since our background check system is only as good as the data and records it contains.

Oregon currently does not require guns to be stored safely to prevent unauthorized users, like children, from accessing them. Oregon law currently also does not provide clear processes for families and law enforcement to temporarily prevent individuals experiencing a mental health crisis or other people at risk of committing violent acts – against themselves or others – from accessing firearms. Click here to view photos from the launch event. 

Members of the Oregon Coalition for Common Sense include:

Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, Co-Founder, Americans for Responsible Solutions

Lou Jaffe, Vietnam Veteran; Board Member, Gun Owners for Responsible Ownership

Lt. Col. Jeff Julum, U.S. Army (Ret.), Veteran’s Advocate

Paul Kemp, President, Gun Owners for Responsible Ownership

Chief Ron Louie, Ret., from the Hillsboro Police Department

Keri L. Moran-Kuhn, Associate Director, Oregon Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence

Jessica Nischik-Long, Executive Director, Oregon Public Health Association

Tom O’Connor, Gun Owners For Responsible Ownership Board Member

Tom Potter, Former Mayor, City of Portland; Retired Chief of Police, Portland Police Bureau

Michael Reese, Retired Chief of Police, Portland Police Bureau

Tawna Sanchez, Interim Executive Director, Native American Youth and Family Center

John Sanford, Disabled Combat Veteran; President, Oregon Veterans Lobby

Jim Scott, M.D., Past President, National Physicians Alliance

Susan Stoltenberg, Executive Director, YWCA of Greater Portland

Vanessa Timmons, Executive Director, Oregon Coalition against Domestic and Sexual Violence

Lexie Weaver, Oregon State Lead, Organizing for Action; Board Member, Oregon Alliance for Gun Safety

Jenna Yuille, Board Member, Gun Owners for Responsible Ownership

Robert Yuille, Veteran; Gun Owners for Responsible Ownership Board Member

“Stopping gun violence takes courage – the courage to do what’s right, and the courage of new ideas. I’ve seen great courage when my life was on the line,” said Congresswoman Giffords in a speech at this morning’s announcement. “Now is the time to come together – to be responsible! Democrats, Republicans – everyone.”

“I’m honored to stand with Gabby and so many leaders from across Oregon to urge our leaders to do more to address the gun violence that is tearing so many of our communities apart. We cannot let this level of gun violence become the new normal, and one way we can make our communities safer is making sure gun owners are required to secure their guns when they know children are present in the home, ” said Susan Stoltenberg, Executive Director, YWCA of Greater Portland.

“As a proud Oregon native, gun owner, veteran, and someone whose wife was murdered with a gun in Clackamas in December 2012, I know that with our freedom comes responsibility – and that means safely storing your guns and standing for commonsense changes that help keep guns out of the wrong hands,” said Robert Yuille a veteran and Gun Owners for Responsible Ownership Board Member.I’m proud to stand with Gabby and so many of my fellow Oregonians to urge responsible action that makes Oregon a safer place to live.”

“In America, every life should matter. Almost every day, we read about shootings and violence and people dying.  Gun violence has become the new normal.  No single law will end gun violence, but if we can save just a handful of lives, it will be worth it,” said Tawna Sanchez, Interim Executive Director, Native American Youth and Family Center.

“Physicians value data, and evidence of what works – and the data tells us that fatalities and injuries from gun violence are of epidemic proportions.  And we have good evidence of effective strategies to reduce that toll.  I’ve seen first hand the impact of gun violence on the public’s health here in Oregon and across the country. That’s why I believe it’s time for commonsense solutions.  As a medical professional, I think commonsense changes to our laws are the responsible thing to do and will can reap benefits for the public’s health,” said Dr. Jim Scott of Portland.

“As a former law enforcement officer in Oregon, I know all too well what guns can do when they fall into the wrong hands,” said Michael Reese, the former Chief of Police for the Portland Police Bureau. “I’m joining in this fight with Congresswoman Giffords and so many of my fellow Oregonians because I know we don’t have to choose between responsible action and our rights.”

Last year, Oregon became the 18th state to require criminal background checks for all gun sales, and the eighth since the founding of Americans for Responsible Solutions. Americans for Responsible supported Oregon’s background checks legislation through an advocacy program that included grassroots organizing, mobilizing key supporters in Oregon like doctors and medical professionals, and through targeted online ads to 700,000 Oregonians that encouraged them to urge their representatives to support the bill. Click here to learn more about Americans for Responsible Solutions’ work in Oregon.

ABOUT GUN VIOLENCE IN THE UNITED STATES

Each year, 32,000 Americans die from gun violence. Every day, 88 Americans are killed with guns, and nearly 12,000 Americans are murdered with a gun each year. [WISQARS Injury Mortality Reports, 1999-2010]

Americans are nearly 20 times more likely to be murdered with a gun than people in other peer countries. [Journal of Trauma, Injury, Infection, and Critical Care, 2011]

The number of shootings is on the rise. While the number of gun murders in the U.S. has remained constant, the number of shootings has been increasing. The number of non-fatal gunshot wounds rose more than 50 percent between 2001 and 2013. [Everytown for Gun Safety, 2014]

ABOUT GUN VIOLENCE IN OREGON

Between 2002 to 2011, 4,007 people were killed with guns in Oregonmore than the number of all U.S. combat deaths in the Iraq War. Somebody is killed with a gun in Oregon every 21 hours. In 2011, there were 420 gun deaths in the state. [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention]

More Oregonians die each year from gun violence than motor vehicle accidents. [Oregon Public Health Division]

ABOUT OREGON’S GUN LAWS

Oregon Closed Loopholes in Federal Law By Requiring Criminal Background Checks for All Gun Sales. Having closed the loopholes in our federal gun background check laws, Oregon currently requires a background check prior to the transfer of a firearm between unlicensed parties. Oregon has also taken steps to ensure that domestic abusers can’t legally access guns. [Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence]

Oregon Doesn’t Require Gun Owners to Safely Secure Guns When Children Are in the Home. Oregon follows federal law and currently does not require guns to be stored safely to prevent unauthorized users, like children, from accessing them. [Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence]

Oregon Doesn’t Provide Processes for Families to Ensure Loved Ones Experiencing A Mental Health Crisis Don’t Have Easy Access to Guns. Oregon law currently also does not provide clear processes for families and law enforcement to temporarily prevent individuals experiencing a mental health crisis or other people at risk of committing violent acts – against themselves or others – from accessing firearms. [Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence]