If OR Legislature Doesn't Pass Safe Storage Law, Expect Ballot Initiative

The state of Oregon is one of those states that loves them some gun control. They’ve passed plenty when they could but there’s a limit to everything.

A while back, an effort to push for a safe storage law called an end to their quest, though they did say they’d renew that effort. They still labored under the misguided belief that requiring people to lock up their guns regardless of their individual circumstances was somehow the right call, they just didn’t figure they could get it through.


I’d hoped they’d be gone for a little longer.

The reforms in question date back to 2018, when a group of state gun control advocates attempted to get a measure on that year’s ballot that would require all gun owners to secure their weapon with a trigger lock when not in use, and report lost or stolen weapons within 24 hours. The proposed measure also stipulated that if a gun owner fails to secure their gun and someone steals it, the owner can be held financially liable for any damage caused by their stolen weapon.

That 2018 initiative, Initiative Petition 44 (IP 44), was legally challenged by Second Amendment activists. The Oregon Supreme Court declined to hear the case, giving the team behind IP 44 the go-ahead to get the measure on the ballot. But with just days left to gather enough signatures to get IP 44 onto the ballot, the team decided to wait.

But a ballot measure isn’t the only path to passing statewide gun storage legislation. State of Safety Action is also behind similar legislation introduced to the Oregon Legislature for the recently wrapped-up 2019 session. The main tenants of that legislation landed in Senate Bill 978, a comprehensive gun-control bill that state Democrats thought they had a strong chance of passing—until they were forced to sacrifice it so that state Republicans would come back from one of their two walkouts.

State of Safety Action’s legislation will be reintroduced in the 35-day 2020 session, and Wessinger says he’s received assurance from top Democratic lawmakers that it will pass with bipartisan support this time around. But nothing’s sure in Salem, so State of Safety Action is also pursuing IP 40 as a stopgap to ensure the legislation passes in some form next year.

“The sooner it becomes law,” Wessinger says, “the more lives will be saved.”


Someone spells “lost” in an odd way. More lives will be lost.

The truth is, criminals can access even secured guns if they’re so inclined and have the time. You know who can’t, though? Nervous citizens who are trying to fumble with a locking mechanism of almost any sort after hearing glass break at three in the morning. Those people are as good as dead because they can’t access their firearm when they need it.

Which, undoubtedly, would lead to studies showing that people aren’t actually using guns to defend their homes or something like that.

To be sure, this effort desperately needs to be opposed. This is nothing more than an effort by those in Portland and Eugene to push their big-city ideas onto rural Oregon. It needs to be stopped before people die.

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