The newly formed group behind the proposed Initiative 44, Oregonians for Safe Gun Storage, say as many as 26,000 homes in the state have unsecured firearms and gun owners have a role to play in curbing unintentional shootings and suicides.
“Today marks a critical step to reducing gun violence in Oregon,” said chief petitioner Jenna Yuille, who lost her mother in the Clackamas mall shooting. “Establishing clear standards for responsible firearm storage will save lives. Unsafely stored firearms pose an immediate danger. People who gain unintended access often cause harm to themselves and others.”
The three-page measure would make it a crime for someone possessing a firearm not in use to have it unsecured. The initiative mandates that guns be stored with a trigger or cable lock or inside a locked container, with stiffer penalties — up to $2,000 in fines — for those who leave an unsecured firearm in an area where a minor may reasonably find it. Should an unsecured gun be used in a shooting that leads to an injury, the gun owner would be held liable.
Additionally, the initiative would require guns transferred in the state to include a gun lock and that owners of firearms lost or stolen report missing guns to police within 24 hours under threat of criminal fines. Finally, the measure would outlaw unsupervised minors from handling loaned guns.
Besides Yuille, another chief petitioner of Initiative 44 is Paul Kemp, whose brother-in-law was killed in the 2012 Clackamas Town Center shooting. In that event, a 22-year-old man stole a rifle from an acquaintance of his and used it to shoot three, two fatally.
The newly formed group behind the petition has a solid pedigree.
Yullie is listed as an “engagement manager” for the Giffords gun control organization, helped found Gun Owners for Responsible Ownership and was present at the White House for the announcement of President Obama’s executive actions in 2016. Both Yullie and co-petitioner Kemp were charter members of the Gifford affiliate established in Oregon two years ago.
The Portland post office box used as the official address for Oregonians for Safe Gun Storage, 42307, has been long-associated with Jeff Green, a political consultant with past ties to the state’s current governor, Kate Brown, and Clackamas County Commissioner Martha Schrader, both Democrats. The company’s website is run by Mandate Media, a Portland-based firm specializing in progressive political campaigns whose clients have included Brown and the Alliance for Gun Responsibility, the latter an organization behind two successful gun control ballot initiatives in neighboring Washington.
To begin the ballot process, organizers must submit 1,000 sponsorship signatures and, once drafted, would have to cough up 88,184 supporters by July 6 to move the initiative forward to voters. The would-be referendum is the second filed by gun control advocates in Oregon in as many weeks, with another measure, Initiative 43, seeking a ban on many popular semi-automatic guns and their magazines.
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