Capitol packed over lock-and-key gun measure

Civic Affairs

The Safe Storage Bill would hold gun owners liable if an improperly stored gun is used to hurt someone

SALEM, Ore. (KOIN) — People packed the Oregon Capitol on Friday for a hearing on a controversial gun control bill that would require gun owners to keep their firearms behind lock and key.

Sponsors of House Bill 4005 say the legislation will help prevent teen suicides. If passed, the bill will require all guns to have either a trigger or cable lock engaged or be stored in a locked container or in a gun room.

Storage cases for handguns (KOIN, file)

Gun owners who violate the law could face a $2,000 fine if a minor obtains an unsecured firearm. If an unsecured gun is stolen and used to hurt someone or damage property, the owner would be held liable and could face a fine if they don’t report the theft within three days.

One of the bill’s sponsors is a state lawmaker who is also a nurse practitioner.

“The goal of the Safe Storage Bill is to change the behavior of the minority of gun owners whose careless actions lead to death and injuries of others,” said Rep. Rachel Prusak from West Linn. “It’s meant as protection for the teen looking to commit suicide.”

A sign at the Oregon State Capitol, February 7, 2020 (KOIN)

But opponents fear the measure is too restrictive. They argue gun storage decisions are a personal choice and the legislation is intruding into gun owners’ homes.

The House committee will hear more testimony before deciding next week whether to send the measure to the House floor for a vote.

People attend a hearing at the Oregon Capitol about the Safe Storage Bill, Feb. 7, 2020. (KOIN)

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