Gun owners for gun control

Lobby group pushes for November ballot initiative

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The Oregon group Gun Owners For Responsible Ownership is pushing to bring a ballot initiative to Oregon’s November election that would require gun owners to abide by four new regulations. A shooting at the Clackamas Town Center that killed Oregon residents Cindy Yuille and Steve Forsyth was what inspired the ballot initiative.

The shooter, Jacob Roberts, opened fire with a stolen assault rifle. Roberts had spent the night at a friend’s house the night before.

“The friend had a bunch of different guns, a number of which were laying around,” explained Jenna Yuille, member of the board of directors of GOFRO and daughter of a victim of the shooting. “The shooter took one of them and used that gun to go murder people at the Clackamas Town Center, including my mom.”

The other victim, Steve Forsyth, is the brother-in-law of another member of the board of directors, Paul Kemp.

“You never think this is going to happen to you and your family,” Yuille said. “I started getting involved after that in the gun safety movement. I want to make a difference in my mom’s name.”

One of the four things the law would require is for gun owners to “store and transfer their weapons with trigger locks or in tamper-proof locked boxes,” which could have prevented the Clackamas shooting. “If the guns had been locked up it would have been that much harder for the shooter to take them and go murder people that day,” Yuille said.

Some community members worry that these storage requirements could delay one from protecting themselves in the event of a home invasion.

“In the case of defending yourself inside your own home, if going for a firearm is your first go-to for self-defense, keeping it locked and secure is probably not the most efficient way of doing it,” Richard Lewis, second-year Lane Community College student, said.

Others think the law would be excessive.

“If you are going to leave the house, locking your gun up is a good idea, but if you’re in your own home, it shouldn’t be a finable offense to have the safe unlocked,” second-year Lane student Rebecca Streeter said.

In addition to the storage requirements, the ballot initiative would require gun owners to directly supervise any child who uses their gun, report a lost or stolen gun to the police within 24 hours of when they knew or should have known of the gun was missing, and be fully liable for an injury caused with their gun, unless the injury results from self-defense or defense of another person.

“At the very least, these rules will help to keep the guns out of the hands of the youths,” second-year LCC student Charles Vessel, said.

GOFRO is “the only group of gun owners in the nation that advocates for gun safety specifically,” Yuille said. “It’s really vital that we improve the standards that we have for what needs to be a responsible gun owner.”

The ballot is currently in the signature stage, but GOFRO is confident it will be a part of Oregon’s November election.

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