Washington, D.C. — Securely storing firearms is a smart practice for gun owners, but in Oregon, there are no state laws requiring guns to be either locked or securely stored when not in use, nor are there any laws that mandate owners to report theft of their firearms. A new issue brief released today by the Center for American Progress and State of Safety—a new Oregon-based nonprofit dedicated to making the state safer from gun violence—lays out the public safety risks and consequences inherent to unsecured firearms.
From 2012 to 2016, 176 guns were reported stolen from licensed gun dealers in Oregon. From 2012 to 2015, an additional 17,302 guns were reported stolen from individual gun owners in Oregon. Unsecured firearms pose a specific danger to children and teens, as 16 children under the age of 18 were unintentionally killed by firearms in Oregon between 2002 and 2016, and another 138 children committed suicide with a gun in Oregon over the same time span.
“Today’s issue brief reaffirms the dangers created by the minority of Oregon gun owners who are irresponsible with their firearms,” said Henry Wessinger, founder of State of Safety. “Unsecured firearms that are stolen arm criminals. Unsecured guns found by children become weapons for school shootings and child suicide. Safe gun storage would make our communities safer.”
“This is a real public safety issue that can be addressed with an uncontroversial fix,” said Chelsea Parsons, vice president of Gun Violence Prevention at the Center for American Progress and co-author of the issue brief. “Safe storage laws, paired with child access prevention laws and gun theft reporting requirements, prevent tragedies and save lives. It’s pretty simple.”
The issue brief lays out a menu of policy options that would help reduce the number of guns that are stored unsafely and within reach of children and thieves in Oregon and around the country. Among those recommendations:
- Require gun owners to store guns securely.
- Hold adults responsible for failing to prevent children from accessing guns.
- Require prompt reporting of gun theft.
Click here to read the issue brief: “The Risks of Unsecured Guns in Oregon” by Chelsea Parsons, Rukmani Bhatia, and Jake Weigler
For more information or to speak with an expert, please contact Kyle Epstein at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202.481.8137.