REMARKS AS PREPARED
HB 4145 Testimony
February 20, 2018
Good morning, Chair Prozanski and members of the Senate Judiciary Committee. For the record, I am Governor Kate Brown.
I am here today to discuss the importance of moving forward HB 4145. This common-sense, life-saving legislation will help protect Oregonians by closing the “Intimate Partner Loophole.” It will prevent convicted stalkers and domestic violence offenders from buying guns. And it makes our communities safer by keeping guns out of the wrong hands.
Less than two weeks ago, I testified before the House Judiciary Committee on this same bill.
I told the story of 24-year-old, Washington County mother, Kate Armand, who was shot and killed by her estranged husband on a Christmas night in 2016.
In the pursuit that followed, I told the House committee about the Oregon State Police Trooper who responded to the scene and was first to encounter the suspect: Trooper Nic Cederberg.
Cederberg was, himself, shot 12 times by the perpetrator. He valiantly fought his injuries and fortunately has survived. But the story demonstrates just how dangerous and deadly instances of domestic violence can be when a firearm is present. It’s not only true for those directly involved, but for law enforcement as well.
In just the two-week span since I shared this story with the House Judiciary Committee, a young man with a history of violence— including alleged abuse of his girlfriend —walked into a Florida high school with an AR-15 and killed 17 people.
And so it began—again—the all-too-familiar debate: Who’s to blame? What went wrong? What can be done?
Families grieve and communities seek answers, while pundits and politicians point fingers. But, this time is different.
This time we say, “NO MORE.” This must stop.
Gun violence must end.
We hear the anguished voices of families fresh with grief from this latest school shooting, joining with families from across the nation and here in Oregon who’ve lost loved ones from gun violence.
They call on us to take action.
And this time, we are hearing a call for action from the very high school students who ran for their lives a week ago. They are demanding that we take action.
These students are calling on us as legislators and as elected leaders to do all we can to keep our communities safer from senseless gun violence.
Parents are writing my office wanting to know what’s being done to keep their children safe and to keep guns out of the wrong hands.
Oregonians need to know we will not stop fighting to protect our families.
As news headlines and the national dialogue focuses on this latest mass shooting, it is important to remember that most deaths caused by a gun go underreported, and all too often occur within the context of domestic violence.
In the past two years alone, Oregon has experienced sixty-six fatalities due to domestic violence—over half of these victims died from gunshots.
We know that the presence of a gun in a domestic violence situation makes it five times more likely that a woman will be killed.
Yet, even if the trigger is never pulled, abusers use guns to threaten and control their victims. In all, about 4.5 million women in the U.S. alive have been threatened with a gun by an intimate partner.
This must stop. This time we say, “NO MORE.”
We have a chance to take action to save lives. So today, I urge you to pass HB 4145.
I cannot sit here today and tell you that this bill would have prevented Florida’s tragedy, nor can I predict how many lives we will save.
But I can say that even if we only save one Oregonian, it will have been worth it.