Ceasefire Oregon's International Response to the Umpqua Community College Shooting, Printed in The Guardian, Oct 2, 2015:
America’s gun violence, like our grief in Oregon, seems to know no bounds, no limits, no end. The reason is deadly simple: our very lives are chained to a constitutional amendment that is willfully misinterpreted by many and perverted by gun rights advocates for political ends.
That sullied amendment is the United States constitution’s Second Amendment which states, “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” The gun industry and its supporters have turned that simple statement into a clever marketing tool, and Americans are paying the price in blood.
On Thursday, Roseburg, Oregon – a three-hour drive south of the Oregon’s largest city, Portland – was rocked by a deadly mass shooting that wounded seven people and took the lives of 10 others, including the gunman. Students were in classes at Umpqua Community College when a 26-year-old gunman shattered their world when he opened fire on them. They are, sadly, not unique: hardly a week has passed in the last three years without a mass shooting.
For 15 years, Ceasefire Oregon has fought the gun lobby – and people like Douglas County sheriff John Hanlin, the gun rights advocate who is investigating this latest shooting – and worked to pass reasonable, effective gun laws.
Hanlin is one of many who claim that the answer to gun violence is to help those who have mental health problems while the rest of us stock up on guns and ammo. Hanlin, gun extremists and groups like the National Rifle Association have scapegoated people with mental health problems for years – but they know that such people are far more likely to be victims of violence than the perpetrators of it(and far more likely to kill themselves than other people).
Gun rights advocates also claim that we need more guns to protect ourselves from gun violence. But with 310m firearms in the US, and despite the fact that one in every three Americans owns guns, more guns are not making us safer.
After the Sandy Hook massacre in 2012, we at Ceasefire Oregon worked with Moms Demand Action, Everytown for Gun Safety, Gun Owners for Responsible Ownership, the Brady Campaign and the Oregon Alliance for Gun Safety to pass a background check law despite opposition from a few Democratic legislators and a few Oregon sheriffs, including Hanlin. And, after years of work, Oregon finally passed a bill requiring background checks for almost all gun sales last spring.
But gun violence is a cancer in our nation and, just as no single drug will cure all cancers, no single gun law will cure all gun violence. Rather, we need comprehensive, effective legislation and caring, courageous leadership to change both America’s laws and Americans’ views on guns and gun violence. Too often, gun control advocates hear that nothing can be done to change things in this country, but that’s just not true.
Gun violence prevention researchers and advocates know that we can reduce gun violence by passing effective, common-sense laws, like background checks for all gun sales to stop criminals and those with demonstrated mental health issues and histories of violence from buying guns. Waiting periods between the time of gun purchase and possession can provide purchasers with a cooling-off period to help deter homicide and suicide. Instituting gun violence restraining orders can reduce violence by allowing family members and law enforcement to remove a gun from a loved one who is exhibiting warning signs of violence.
We can require – or at least heavily incentivize through liability statutes – that firearms be kept secured at all times with trigger locks or in a safe. We can reduce gun trafficking by allowing people to purchase only one gun per month. We can reinstate the federal assault weapons ban to ban the purchase and possession of high-capacity magazines and assault rifles, which are not necessary for the most dedicated home-defender or hunter.
And Americans can refuse to support lawmakers of any party who do not support “gun-sense” laws – like background checks, higher standards for gun ownership and funding for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms – at the ballot box. We can challenge all 2016 presidential candidates to issue a plan to cut gun violence by 50% before 2020 (the final year of the next president’s first term in office), and Ceasefire has done so.
We are citizens of a great nation, but our children, our mothers, our fathers and our friends are being mowed down, fed to the gun industry’s insatiable appetite for profit. Our founding fathers wrote the Second Amendment to protect our country. Now we must protect our country from those who pervert the Second Amendment.
We know this can be done. We know this must be done. Our national nightmare of paying into the gun lobby’s profit machine must be brought to an end.
Penny Okamoto, Executive Director
How well do you know Oregon's gun laws? Take our quiz on our New Trajectory blogpost site.
TED Talk: Dr. Daniel Webster, Professor of Health Policy and Management at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and Director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research, examines some surprisingly hopeful possibilities that exist to reduce gun violence significantly. Dr. Webster states, "Our level of violence will...be going down. Violence is not necessarily engraved into American culture or law." Dr. Webster has a four-part plan to reduce gun violence. His overall concept is to increase standards for gun ownership and enhance the accountability of federal licensed firearms dealers (gun sellers). Watch his 18 minute TED Talk.
3 People Shot While On Air, 2 Dead: Americans have lost our right to work without fear of being shot but the gun lobby and the NRA ensure that all who hate are readily armed.
WDBJ reporter Alison Parker and photographer Adam Ward were shot death and Vicki Gardner, who was being interviewed, was shot in the back as the three conducted an on air interview this morning in Virginia. The suspected shooter complained on his Facebook account that Adam Ward complained about the suspect to human resources.
Our deepest sympathies are with the families and loved ones of Adam Ward, Alison Parker and WDBJ. Our hopes and best wishes are with Ms. Gardner.
Americans have lost our right to work, to study, to shop, to walk with loved ones or even to disagree without the threat of gun violence held over our heads. The gun lobby and the NRA must live with their ignominy and complicity in all gunshot death and injury.
2015 Legislative Session Sees Huge Wins for Gun Violence Prevention in Oregon!
Gun violence prevention made huge strides in Oregon's 2015 legislative session. Ceasefire Oregon and the Ceasefire Oregon Education Foundation have worked together for over 20 years to educate our community and Oregon legislators about gun violence and how to prevent it. This year, Ceasefire Oregon leveraged those years of work and, together with our allies including the Oregon Alliance for Gun Safety and Everytown for Gun Safety, passed SB 941 which closed the private gun sale loophole. We also helped stop HB 3093, which would have allowed more hidden, loaded guns in Oregon carried by non-Oregonians.
Take a look at some of the changes in Oregon laws because of our work:
SB 941: Felons and domestic abusers can no longer buy guns with no questions asked.
SB 525: Domestic violence offenders and people subject to domestic abuse restraining orders are barred from possessing guns.
SB 385: Judges can prohibit guns in their courtrooms.
That's just three of thirty bills Ceasefire Oregon took a position on and followed during the legislative session. While we worked with other organizations on SB 941 and HB 3039, no other gun violence prevention organization in Oregon is active on all firearms-related bills. You can read the rest of the bills here.
Ceasefire Oregon's legislative work helps make Oregonians safer from gun violence. We help set the agenda and create strategies for other states to pass effective gun safety legislation. Thank you for your unwavering vision of an Oregon free of gun violence.
Portland Mayor Hales Declares June 19 to be ASK (Asking Saves Kids) Day in Portland
Ceasefire Oregon’s opposition is based on six major points:
- 1. Oregon’s lax CHL training requirements would allow poorly trained, out-of-state CHL holders to carry loaded, hidden guns in Oregon.
- -Seven states, including Texas, require shooting competency. Oregon does not.1, 7
-An Oregon CHL applicant is not even required to touch a gun to receive an Oregon CHL.
-Delaware and Texas requires instruction on proper handling and storage of guns and ammunition.2, 7 Oregon does not.
-Some states require CHL training to include instruction in techniques for avoiding a criminal attack or how to manage a violent confrontation.2, 7 Oregon does not.
2. Concealed handgun licenses are NOT like a driver's license.
-Driver's licenses ensure a uniform standard of knowledge throughout all states. However, different states have different standards for CHL training requirements.
-Some states do not require any training or testing to obtain a CHL while driver's licenses require training and testing in all states.
3. A CHL is not a guarantee of lawful behavior.
-Since 2007, 743 people have been shot to death by someone legally permitted to carry a concealed gun.3
-In the same time period, 29 mass shootings have been committed by CHL holders.3
-Also, 17 law enforcement officers have been killed by CHL holders.3
4. Some states have issued CHLs to felons.
-Florida issued 1,400 concealed carry permits to felons in 2007 alone.4
-Between 2007 and 2011, North Carolina issued 2,400 concealed carry permits to people convicted of misdemeanor crimes or felonies.5
5. Reciprocity would pose serious challenges to law enforcement.
-The increased number of individuals carrying concealed guns in public places would pose substantial complications for Oregon law enforcement agencies.
-In addition to confronting potentially large numbers of travelers packing heat with little or not training or knowledge of the relevant state firearms laws, law enforecement would be further challenged by the difficulty of verifying that any individual bearing an out-of-state CHL is legally allowed to carry a gun in public.
-Some state permit cards do not contain the permit holder's photograph, looking more like library cards than official documents authorizing the carrying of a hidden, loaded firearm.
-In order to confirm that an individual's CHL is authentic, law enforcement would have to contact the issuing agency in the permit holder's state, because there is no nationwide database for CHL holders.
-Not every state has a statewide database of permit holders. Colorado, for example, prohibits the creation of a statewide database, while Maine does not require locally-issued permits to be reported to its state system.6
6. HB 3093 will not help most Oregonians.
-California does not have reciprocity, so Oregonians cannot carry concealed in our most populous neighboring state.
-Washington is not eligible because it does not require CHL training.
-Residents of bordering states can already obtain a CHL from an Oregon sheriff.
How does Oregon benefit from allowing more hidden, loaded guns in our state? It doesn’t. The bill’s sole “benefit”—saving some paperwork and perhaps a few dollars in CHL fees, for those few people—is far outweighed by the risk of having poorly trained CHL holders from other states carrying loaded, concealed handguns on our streets, in our parks and even into our Capitol building which has a chilling effect on Oregonians’ right to free speech.
HB 3093A places a great deal of risk on Oregonians simply to extend a courtesy to a few.
1. States requiring live firing as part of the firearm training component of the law are Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas. http://smartgunlaws.org/concealed-weapons-permitting-policy-summary/
4. Megan O’Matz and John Maines, “License to Carry: Florida’s Flawed Concealed Weapon Law,” Sun Sentinel, January 28, 2007, available at http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/2007-01-28/news/0701270316_1_gun-licensing-system
5. Michael Luo, “Guns in Public, and Out of Sight,” The New York Times, December 26, 2011, available at http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/27/us/more-concealed-guns-and-some-are-in-the-wrong-hands.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
6. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-12-206(3)(b)(I); Me. Rev. Stat. tit. 25, § 2006.
Concealed handgun license training required by some other states but not Oregon:
Live-fire training and proficiency
Training in conflict management and reduction
Training in avoidance of a criminal attack
Instruction on proper handling and storage of guns and ammunition, including the storage and handling of guns and ammunition around children,
Requiring a person to be of good character (Delaware requirement)
In addition, some states allow sheriffs “may issue” rather than “shall issue” discretion when issuing a CHL. That discretion helps keep guns away from people who are known to local sheriffs as having potential problems with mental health or domestic violence. Oregon changed its CHL laws from “may issue” to “shall issue” in 1989, therefore, Oregon sheriffs no longer have that discretion.
87% of Oregonians support background checks, including 83% of Oregon gun owners.1
NO on SB 86
Dodging bullets in our forests? Shooting ranges next to your farm? Not in our Oregon!
SB 86 completely disregards common sense and public safety by creating a special loophole for people who want to have shooting ranges in land already zoned for farm or forest use. That means Oregonians who live on farms or near forest zones could suddenly be neighbors with a firing range that hosts shooting matches. A bullet from a .22 caliber gun can travel up to one mile. A bullet from a .30-06 can travel up to 3 miles. SB 86 is a dangerous bill. Call your legislators (find them here) and Senator Floyd Prozanski at 503-986-1704. Ask them to vote NO on SB 86.
Unload Your 401k #ImUnloading
Is your 401k invested in public gun companies? Inside many of our 401k portfolios are three public gun companies. Find out if they're in yours and learn what you can do to begin to take them out. Unload Your 401k at unloadyour401k.com.
Statement from Ceasefire Oregon about the resignation of Gov. John Kitzhaber
We at Ceasefire Oregon and the Ceasefire Oregon Education Foundation are saddened by the this news of Governor John Kitzhaber's resignation. For many years, Governor Kitzhaber has been committed to gun violence prevention in Oregon. He helped draw attention to the Asking Saves Kids Campaign by proclaiming June 21, 2014 "ASK Day" in Oregon and championed expanded background checks for firearm sales.
In February 2014, Governor Kitzhaber joined Capt. Mark Kelly to testify in support of SB 1551 which would have closed the private sale loophole in firearms background checks. Gov. Kitzhaber said the bill is "a reasonable step that shows Oregon is being serious" about reducing gun violence by preventing felons and domestic abusers from buying guns. We are grateful to Governor Kitzhaber for his commitment to reducing gun violence and we wish him well.
Ceasefire Oregon will continue to work with the Oregon legislature and we look forward to working with Kate Brown as she becomes our new governor. Working together, we know we can reduce gun violence in Oregon.
Joanne Skirving, President, Ceasefire Oregon
Penny Okamoto, Executive Director, Ceasefire Oregon
Julie Wheeler, President, Ceasefire Oregon Education Foundation
The legislative session has begun! Bills aiming at reducing gun violence will soon be introduced. Ceasefire Oregon is currently working to mobilize support for these proposals. Stay tuned for more news.
Cease Violence: A second anniversary memorial of the Clackamas Town Center and Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings to remember all victims of violence.
Thank you for joning us on Friday, December 12 at 7 p.m. at Augustana Lutheran Church, 2710 NE 14th Ave., in Portland to honor all victims of violence, including those lost at Clackamas Town Center, Sandy Hook Elemenatry School, Reynolds High School, or through domestic violence, gang violence or suicide. And thank you to the scheduled speakers, Gary Spanovich of the Wholistic Peace Institute, Jenna Yuille whose mother, Cindy, died at Clackamas Town Center, and Pastor Mark Knutson.
Oregon voters delivered an emphatic message to our legislators last week: Oregonians want to end gun violence! We demand common sense gun laws and we will vote out legislators who refuse to take simple steps to keep guns away from criminals.
You helped create a huge victory for gun violence prevention in Oregon! Thank you! Thousands of you stood up to the gun lobby and paved the way for Oregon to pass a strong background checks bill in 2015. Read about the victories in our blog.
Ceasefire Oregon and the Ceasefire Oregon Education Foundation extend our deepest sympathies to the community of Marysville-Pilchuck High School and the families whose children have been killed or injured. The loss faced by the families and communities is horrific. The weapon used was believed to have been a Beretta .40-caliber handgun purchased by the shooter's father. (CNN, Oct. 24, 2014) Responsible gun owners must keep their weapons under control at all times and not accessible to teenagers. If you decide to purchase a weapon consider the home, the family and the community into which you are bringing a gun. Keep guns locked up and unloaded with the ammunition stored separately. Do it for your community and your family.
Ceasefire Oregon is currently working to elect candidates who support background checks and other common-sense gun laws. Interested inring? Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or email Michael DeLong at email@example.com.
James Brady passed away on August 4, 2014, at the age of 73. He was the man behind the Brady Handgun Bill to Prevent Gun Violence, which blocked an estimated 2 million gun sales to criminals, domestic abusers, and other dangerous people. After he was wounded during an assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan, Jim Brady and his wife worked to pass stronger gun laws and reduce gun violence. They saved countless lives through their courage and determination. Ceasefire Oregon and countless other gun violence prevention advocates mourn the loss of a true American hero.
Governor John Kitzhaber issued a proclamation designating June 21st, 2014 as Asking Saves Kids Day, and encouraged all Oregonians to join in this observance. The ASK Campaign encourages parents to ask "Is there is an unlocked gun in your house?" before sending their child over to play. Asking this question is a simple step that every parent can take to keep their child safe, and possible save their child's life.
In America today, shootings happen so frequently that usually only mass shootings gain attention. Sadly, in addition to these horrifying acts, gang violence is common. And that doesn't even touch the numbers of suicide by gunshot. Over 300 people in Oregon committ suicide with guns every year.
Gun violence is a huge issue and we need more than just one solution. Just like cancer has many causes and requires many different treatments, gun violence has many roots and requires many different tactics. One tactic would be requiring background checks for all gun sales in America. Another would be increased support for mental health treatment.
In the Seattle Pacific shooting, as in many mass shootings, the killing is ended when the murderer stops to reload and heroes have a chance to tackle the shooter. It's one reason why Ceasefire Oregon has worked to limit the number of bullets allowed in gun magazines.
Does it work? When Adam Lanza took 11 seconds to reload at Sandy Hook, 11 kids escaped. Yes, it works. But it's not enough. We need to stop these murder rampages before they begin.
Three Beverly Cleary students have won second place in the middle school category in the national 2014 C-SPAN Student Cam documentary contest for their film "Gun Control in America." Contestants were asked what issue they thought was the most important facing Congress in 2014.
These students decided to address gun violence in America. Their seven minute film includes interviews with Representative Earl Blumenauer and a Ceasefire Oregon volunteer.
President Obama has nominated Dr. Vivek Murthy, a distinguished and well-qualified doctor, to be the next Surgeon General. However, his nomination is being opposed by the National Rifle Association. The reason? Dr. Murthy supports effective gun laws and views gun violence as a public health issue that can and should be addressed immediately.
The New England Journal of Medicine ran an excellent editorial supporting his nomination. Please contact Senator Ron Wyden and Senator Jeff Merkley and urge them to support Dr. Murthy!
In 2007 Missouri repealed a law requiring background checks and licenses for all gun owners. A new study from the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research shows that after this law was repealed, firearm deaths in Missouri increased by 23 percent (55 to 63 more murders annually from 2008 to 2012).
This study provides compelling confirmation that weaknesses in gun laws lead to deaths from gun violence.
The 2014 Oregon Legislature did nothing to prevent gun violence. SB 1551, which would have required background checks on almost all gun sales in Oregon, did not come up for a vote and died in the Senate Rules Committee. The lack of a vote was despite promises made to Rules Committee Chair Senator Floyd Prozanski that SB 1551 would receive a vote.
We ask Oregonians to hold their legislators accountable for not enacting laws that will reduce gun violence. We demand that our legislators stand up for the lives of Oregonians.
Ceasefire Oregon will continue to work to pass common-sense gun safety laws and educate the public about the effectiveness of laws including universal background checks and child access prevention.
Thank you for joining us for the January 28th Gun Violence Prevention Summit!
The Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence released their 2013 State Scorecard: Why Gun Laws Matter. The report contains analyses of the gun laws in every state, and it ranks states according to how effective and strong their laws are. Every state is awarded a letter grade indicating the overall strength or weakness of its gun laws. Oregon's grade is a D+.
2013 was an important year. After the horrifying massacre at Sandy Hook, twenty-one states passed new laws to reduce gun laws, and eight of them enacted major reforms.
Thank you for joining us at the December 11th vigil in honor of the victims of the Clackamas Town Center!
Our thoughts and prayers go out to all victims of gun violence, their families, and their friends. The mass shooting at the Washington Navy Yard on September 16 resulted in 13 deaths (including the shooter's), and many others were injured. This is the deadliest shooting since the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Just three days after the Navy Yard shooting, 13 people were shot in a park in Chicago. Thankfully, all survived, but several were seriously injured.
While mass shootings receive the most media attention, dozens of people are victims of gun violence every day--in moments of rage, feuds with neighbors, drive-by shootings, domestic violence, suicides, unintentional shootings, and many other instances.
Since the massacre at Sandy Hook, Joe Nocera, a columnist for The New York Times, has issued the Gun Report, a daily update that provides a grim record of the carnage and death on our streets, much of which results from inadequate gun safety laws. Visit http://nocera.blogs.nytimes.com/category/gun-report/.
The American people deserve better than this. While laws that present real opportunities to save lives sit on the desks of legislators, many Americans continue to die as a result of gun violence. The American people are calling for action. Our legislators need to act now.
The 2013 Oregon Legislature did nothing to prevent gun violence.
We are deeply disappointed that even after the recent horrific shooting tragedies here in Oregon and across the country, the 2013 Oregon Legislature chose to do nothing to reduce gun violence. Oregonians overwhelmingly support common-sense steps like requiring universal background checks to ensure that guns do not end up in the hands of criminals. It is our hope that our elected leaders will soon catch up with the views of their constituents.
The movement to strengthen our gun laws is stronger today than at any time in the last decade. With our partners in the Oregon Alliance to Prevent Gun Violence, Moms Demand Action and the Brady Campaign, we will continue gearing up for new educational campaigns and the next legislative session. We appreciate the hard work by Senators Floyd Prozanski and Ginny Burdick this session and look forward to successfully passing legislation to make our communities safer.
Ceasefire Oregon mourns the death of Julie Sterling, our dear friend, co-founder, board member, and lifelong advocate. She was an inspiration to all of us, and we will miss her dearly.
Oregonians support common-sense gun safety laws: watch and share this video.