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What an exciting week in gun violence prevention!

By Penny Okamoto, Executive Director of Ceasefire Oregon

Last week, from DC to Hawaii, America witnessed a historic change in the momentum and demand for gun violence prevention legislation. Ceasefire Oregon has been at this for years and we’ve never seen anything like it! It’s been a busy and hopeful week! We were disappointed that the Senate and House did not pass a bill to require background checks for all gun sales but we realize that the tide is turning.

Here’s a recap:

  • Monday June 20: the Senate rejected four bills intended to make it harder for people on the “no-fly” or United States terror watch lists to buy guns.
  • Also on Monday, the Supreme Court refused to hear Shew v. Malloy, which challenged a Connecticut law banning many semiautomatic rifles. The ruling paves the way for other states to enact a similar ban.
  • Tuesday June 21: a bipartisan group of senators led by Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-N. Dakota) proposed an amendment that would have restricted gun sales for people on two terror watch lists.
    • Sen. Collins said, “we believe if you are too dangerous to fly on an airplane, you are too dangerous to buy a gun.”
    • The Collins Amendment included an appeals process for green card holders and United States citizens on a terror watch list who are denied the sale of a firearm.
  • Thursday June 23, Hawaii enacted three new gun laws. One law makes Hawaii the first state to list gun owners in a database.
    • The database, called the “Rap Back” system, is operated by the FBI and notifies police when a gun owner is arrested for a crime anywhere in the United States.
  • Also on Thursday, 52 senators (including Oregon senators Merkley and Wyden) voted not to table the Collins Amendment. This means they supported it.
    • Unfortunately, at least 60 “no” votes are necessary to prevent a filibuster.
    • The House is not expected to vote on any gun safety bills, so as of today, no further post-Orlando gun safety legislation votes are pending.

For more information about current legislation, please visit Ceasefire Oregon’s legislative site.

What can you do? Call your legislator and say that you support meaningful legislation like universal background checks that will save lives.

Rep. Greg Walden needs to be urged to support good legislation. Please call him at 541-389-4408 and remind him that 90% of Americans support background checks for all gun sales.

Please call the other members of Oregon’s congressional delegation and thank them for supporting universal background checks.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer: 503-231-2300

Rep. Suzanne Bonamici: 503-469-6010

Rep. Peter DeFazio: 541-465-6732

Rep. Kurt Schrader:  503-557-1324

Thank you for all you do and keep up the good fight!