Media Room

REMARKS AS PREPARED

HB 4145 Testimony
February 7, 2018

Good afternoon. Thank you for the opportunity to testify.  For the record, I am Governor Kate Brown. I’m here to discuss the importance of moving HB 4145 forward to close the Intimate Partner Loophole, and make our communities safer by keeping guns out of the wrong hands.

We’re barely two months into the new year, and 11 school shootings have already happened across America.

This unconscionable gun violence devastates families and tears apart the very fabric of our communities.

While we read the headlines and hear the news of mass shootings, many instances of violence involving firearms occur within the context of domestic abuse. And all too often these go unreported.

What we do know, is that when law enforcement responds to incidents of Domestic Violence, they are engaging in some of the most dangerous and unpredictable situations they can walk into.
 
One domestic violence incident that we did hear about was on Christmas night, when 24-year-old Kate Armand was shot and killed by her estranged husband. Oregon State Trooper Nic Cederberg responded to the scene and was himself shot 12 times. The entire state was horrified to learn of the death of this young mother, and rallied around Trooper Cederberg. Amazingly, he valiantly fought his injuries and has survived. 

A year ago today, I visited Trooper Cederberg in the hospital, and I made a promise that I would continue to do everything I can to keep victims and law enforcement officers safe from this kind of senseless violence.

This resolve felt more urgent once I learned that in just the month after Kate Armand was killed, another 16 Oregonians lost their lives in domestic violence-related incidents.

The presence of a gun in a domestic violence situation makes it five times more likely that a woman will be killed. Nationally, more than half of all women killed with guns are murdered by their partners.

Oregon has experienced sixty-six fatalities due to domestic violence in the past two years alone. Over half of these victims died from gunshots.

A majority of the victims were killed by current or former intimate partners, including spouses.

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 today have been threatened with a gun by an intimate partner.

This must stop. Violence answers nothing, offers nothing, solves nothing.

Instead of reaching for firearms, we must reach for answers. One such answer is before us today: HB 4145.

This common-sense, life-saving legislation will help protect Oregon’s women and children by closing the “Intimate Partner Loophole,” preventing convicted stalkers and domestic violence offenders from buying or possessing guns and keeping guns out of the wrong hands.

This bill also makes a simple, yet critically important update to Oregon law to ensure the appropriate authorities are notified when a prohibited person attempts to purchase a firearm. It will enable Oregon State Police to track the outcomes of those cases to help us identify where in our existing system reporting improvements may be made.

As a community, we all agree that we must keep our families safe from violence. Now, with HB 4145 we must continue the good progress we’ve made to keep guns out of the hands of those who should not have them.

I appreciate the collective advocacy of our local volunteers and outspoken survivors, along with community leaders and law enforcement officers committed to achieving this vision.

I also appreciate the leadership of Majority Leader Jennifer Williamson, Senator Prozanski, and Representative Barker, here with us today. I look forward to working with you and I call on the state legislature to pass HB 4145.

I look forward to working with the Legislature to close these dangerous loopholes, keep guns away from dangerous people, and hold wrongdoers accountable.