Moms Demand Action Legislative Action Day
REMARKS AS PREPARED
February 21, 2017
Thank you for being here today, united by our determination to take positive action against a negative force that threatens our communities, our quality of life, and our future: Gun violence.
Gun violence devastates families and households throughout Oregon, tearing apart the very fabric of our communities.
Since I was first sworn in as Governor two years ago, more than 600 Oregonians have died from violence inflicted with a gun, more than 100 of those due to homicidal violence.
600 of us.
I had the sad honor of representing our citizens at a memorial service for Seaside Police Department Sergeant Jason Goodding, murdered by a felon who had obtained a firearm.
I have met with some of the families of the UCC Nine – nine people shot and killed when a student walked into a classroom at Umpqua Community College and began firing. I will never forget that day. And I vowed to do whatever I could to make sure it never happens again.
While we vividly remember tragic events like those at UCC or the Clackamas Town Center, all too commonly, gun violence is perpetrated behind closed doors.
In 2014, there were fifty-six victims of domestic violence reported in Oregon. Seventy-percent of those victims — thirty-nine people — were women. Forty-five percent of all victims — men or women — died from gunshots.
A majority of the victims (fifty-eight percent) were killed by current or former intimate partners, including spouses.
In the “Count Her In” report released last year, it was found that an estimated 1 million of Oregon’s women and girls – over half of the state’s female population – have experienced some form of sexual or domestic violence.
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.
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.
It robs us of our humanity, turning us against one another promising only more pain, more loss. Instead of reaching for weapons, we must reach for answers.
If we want to end violence, we must fight ignorance and desperation. We must instill hope and create opportunity. We must work together to defend justice and achieve equality.
As your Governor, I call on each of us, as Oregonians and as Americans, to end gun violence now.
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 leadership of Majority Leader Jennifer Williamson and Senator Floyd Prozanski, here with us today. I look forward to working with you both and I call on the state legislature to pass SB 797.
This common-sense, life-saving legislations will help protect Oregon’s women and children by closing the “Boyfriend Loophole,” preventing convicted stalkers from buying or possessing guns, and keeping guns out of the wrong hands by closing the “Charleston Loophole.”
As a community, we all agree that we must keep our families safe from violence. And by working together, we’ve made Oregon a national leader when it comes to ensuring gun safety.
Now, with Senate Bill 797 we must continue the good progress we’ve made to keep guns out of the hands of those who should not have them.
I look forward to working with the Legislature to close these dangerous loopholes, keep guns away from dangerous people, and hold wrongdoers accountable.