PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – While Oregon’s three gubernatorial candidates have spent years serving in the Oregon legislature, they have vastly different viewpoints on how to reduce mass shootings like the one killing children and teachers at the elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.

The three candidates are: Republican Christine Drazan, Democrat Tina Kotek and Betsy Johnson who is unaffiliated.

Betsy Johnson has a three-pronged plan: she will prioritize mental health supports, including prevention and intervention in schools. Johnson also wants to work with schools and parents locally to find out what safety mechanisms their districts need and want for their communities. Lastly, she says she would strengthen Oregon’s law enforcement.

“There is no scenario by which we need to try to take away guns from lawful owners. We don’t need to try to get guns off the streets. I think that’s a virtually impossible task, but making sure that we’re enforcing the laws that we’ve got now,” Johnson said.

Meanwhile, Tina Kotek responded to the tragedy by saying leaders in D.C. have failed to act.

She highlighted measures she has already taken as house speaker; passing laws to keep guns from domestic abusers, strengthening background checks for gun buyers, and requiring guns to be stored safely.

In a statement, Kotek said “yesterday, 19 children and two teachers were murdered at an elementary school. They woke up, got ready to go to school, and never made it home. This should never happen in any community. As leaders in D.C. have failed to take action, I made sure as House Speaker that Oregon passed legislation to keep guns from domestic abusers, strengthened background checks for gun purchases, and required guns to be stored safely. As Governor, I won’t stop there. I’ll work to ban ghost guns, prevent teenagers from purchasing assault weapons, and require completed background checks anytime someone buys a gun. It’s not enough to offer thoughts and prayers. Oregon needs leaders who will take action to keep schools and communities safe.”

Republican candidate Christine Drazan called what happened in Texas a parent’s worst nightmare.

“For any mother, what happened yesterday in Texas is our worst nightmare. No parent should have to worry about their child’s safety at school,” Drazan said in a statement. “No child should have to fear violence taking place in their own classroom. My heart is broken over the lives lost in this horrific and evil act.” 

Drazan went on to add that Oregonians must do more to protect kids including “…investing in school resource officers and ensuring that individuals who should not have access to a classroom do not gain access to a classroom.”

Wherever Oregonians fall on this issue, Johnson says people need to be willing to acknowledge a range of steps to tackle gun violence.

“In the wake of these tragedies, everybody runs to their ideological corners. And right now, the country is coming apart at the seams. We need to bring people together to find common sense solutions and end this polarization,” Johnson said.

But as the candidates themselves fall on vastly different ends of the spectrum regarding gun laws, it will be up to voters to decide.

Now, gun regulation advocates are working to collect signatures to put an initiative on November’s ballot to curb Oregon’s rise in gun violence, called Initiative 17.

The initiative would require people to get a permit to buy a gun, require safety classes, and stop the sale of gun magazines that hold more than 10 rounds.

Initiative Petition 17 would also close the so called “Charleston Loophole” by requiring people to pass a background check before buying a gun.

Under current federal law, firearms dealers can sell guns without a completed background check if it takes longer than three days. That is how the gunman in the Charleston AMC church mass shooting killed nine people in 2015.

The executive director of Ceasefire said Initiative Petition 17 would reduce mass casualties in Oregon, as seen in Texas.

“So right now, in the state of Oregon, when people are hunting large game like elk, hunters are limited to five rounds plus one in the chamber. But when shooters are hunting humans, there’s no limit. So, we actually treat with more respect and care and elk than we do a classroom of children,” Ceasefire Executive Director Penny Okamoto said.

There would be exceptions for high-capacity magazines for military and law enforcement and for those who already own them, they can keep them but wouldn’t be allowed to sell them to anyone.