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Oregon Dems: Go back and do better. Pass SB 978.

By Penny Okamoto, Executive Director of Ceasefire Oregon

In Oregon, the Democratic party holds the governorship, the Senate, and the House. Governor Kate Brown ran on promises of strong action to reduce gun violence and received the endorsement of Ceasefire Oregon and other gun violence prevention organizations. The Oregon Republican minority has always opposed any GVP legislation as well as any increase in taxes.

Last week, the Oregon Republican senators walked off their jobs to in a move to deprive the Oregon Senate of a quorum to prohibit the Oregon Senate from voting on any legislation including a bill that would raise $2 billion for Oregon education.

Over the weekend, Governor Kate Brown and Senate President Peter Courtney made a backroom deal with Republican minority leader Herman Baertschiger Jr. that would bring the Republican senators back to work. Their trade was to kill two Democratic-supported bills. One bill is Senate Bill 978 (SB 978), an omnibus gun violence prevention bill that includes mandatory safe storage, a ban on undetectable ghost guns, a ban on 3D printed guns, a ban on manufacture of untraceable, an increase in the minimum age of gun purchase from 18 to 21, and allows public places like schools and airports to control who could carry a hidden gun in those buildings.

In return for killing a major gun violence prevention bill, Oregon Republicans merely agreed to return to work.

This stunning turn by a Democratic governor who has claimed to be a stalwart supporter of gun violence prevention is a concern to every state.

Governor Brown and several Oregon Democrats have already used Oregon students as props for photo ops when they appeared in pictures with students at gun violence prevention rallies in 2018 but then failed to support SB 501, a bill written by the students. Now Governor Brown and Senator Courtney have further traded on the safety of those very students.

Oregon’s capitulation to right-wing extremists sends a signal to the entire country that Democrats are not serious about taking the simplest of steps to make our children safer from gun violence. Without passage of SB 978, gun owners will still be allowed to bring loaded, hidden guns into Oregon public schools K – 12. Oregon gun owners will still not be held accountable when children and teens shoot themselves or others with unsecured guns. Teens like the Parkland shooter will still be able to buy a gun.

Please call Oregon Governor Kate Brown, Oregon Senate President Peter Courtney, and Oregon Minority Leader Baertschiger to tell them that the safety of our children cannot be traded away. Demand that Oregon Senate go back, do better, and pass Senate Bill 978. Our children’s lives are at stake and we refuse to wait.

Oregon Governor Kate Brown: 503-378-4582

Oregon Senate President Peter Courtney: 503-986-1600

Oregon Senate Minority Leader Herman Baertschiger: 503-986-1702

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