REMARKS AS PREPARED
Governor Kate Brown
SB978 Testimony – Firearm Safety
Tuesday, April 2, 2019
Every session, I am proud that we are able to make progress to ensure that every Oregonian can be safe from gun violence. The omnibus bill before you makes several common sense changes to Oregon’s laws to continue this important work.
I will never forget the morning of October 1, 2015, when I received word of a mass shooting at Umpqua Community College. Sitting with families of the victims, I searched for words of comfort, and resolved that I would do all I could to make sure it would not happen again.
Since that time, we have accomplished a lot, but we have more work to do.
Last year, in another state, an angry young man was able to use an assault rifle to kill his fellow students. Shocked and dismayed, several retailers here in Oregon and around the country changed their policies to increase the age of purchase.
I want to give kudos to Dick’s Sporting Goods, Wal-mart, Kroger and Fred Meyer, REI, and LL Bean, who made those policy changes in the wake of the shooting.
Senate Bill 978 ensures that retailers have the discretion to make those changes.
The bill also works toward improving safety by setting clear standards around safe storage and preventing access by minors to guns in homes. Just as it’s important to wear a seatbelt or a helmet, it is critical that people keep their guns safely secured when not in use, particularly when children are in the home. It regulates “ghost guns”—a concept that Attorney General Rosenblum will explain in a moment—and it allows our sheriffs to perform more thorough background checks when an individual applies for a Concealed Handgun License.
The bill also improves access to firearm injury data by the Oregon Health Authority. As we move forward together to increase the safety of Oregonians, we can do so with better and more complete data. Our ability to make informed policy decisions will be enhanced tremendously.
As with all of our firearm safety bills, we could not be here today without the leadership of Chair Prozanski, Chair Williamson of the House Judiciary Committee, Senator Ginny Burdick, Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, and many other senators and representatives who work tirelessly each session on these critical issues.
I thank not only our elected leaders, but also the many citizens here today who relentlessly pursue improved firearm safety measures for all Oregonians.
Thank you for your consideration of this important bill. I urge your “aye” vote.