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New Group Hopes To Reduce Oregon Gun Violence


Former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords said it was time for Republicans and Democrats to come together on the issue of gun control.

Former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords said it was time for Republicans and Democrats to come together on the issue of gun control.

Amelia Templeton/OPB

Former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords came to Portland Friday to kick off a new group working for tougher gun control laws, called the Oregon Coalition for Common Sense.

Giffords has been an outspoken proponent of tougher gun laws since she nearly died in an assassination attempt four years ago.

At the coalition launch in Portland, she walked with a slight limp. She took the time to shake hands with everyone in the room, and then spoke briefly from prepared remarks.  

“Now is the time to come together. Be responsible. Democrats, Republicans, everyone,” Giffords said.

The new alliance will advocate for a number of gun control measures.

The new alliance will advocate for a number of gun control measures.

Amelia Templeton/OPB

Giffords’ national advocacy group is partnering locally with Gun Owners for Responsible Ownership, an organization founded by people who lost family in the 2012 Clackamas Town Center shooting. A representative for Giffords declined to say how much financial support Americans for Responsible Solutions plans to provide the Oregon group.

The coalition’s advisers include retired Portland police chief Mike Reese and former mayor Tom Potter, who is also a former Portland police chief.Many of the speakers noted that, like Giffords, they have owned guns and said that the group’s platform of proposed changes is moderate. The coalition reached out to several prominent Oregon Republicans, but they declined to join, according to a staffer.

The new alliance will advocate for gun control measures such as tighter gun storage requirements and better processes for families and law enforcement to stop people who suffering from a mental health crisis from accessing guns.

Jenna Yuille’s mother, hospice nurse Cindy Yuille, was killed in the Clackamas Town Center attacks.

Jenna Yuille’s mother, hospice nurse Cindy Yuille, was killed in the Clackamas Town Center attacks.

Amelia Templeton/OPB

“There is now a whole other community that has been personally affected by gun violence, and sad as it is, that’s also what it’s going to take. That’s part of what has fueled this movement: more and more people being affected by guns,” said Gun Owners for Responsible Ownership board member Jenna Yuille. 

Yuille’s mother, hospice nurse Cindy Yuille, was killed in the Clackamas Town Center attacks.

Jenna Yuille became a gun-control advocate and was among those who convinced the Oregon Legislature to pass universal background check legislation last session. Ultimately, Yuille says, she plans to push for legislation requiring gun owners to store their guns in a secure place and to carry some form of liability insurance.

“When my mom was killed, I felt like that was something that shouldn’t have happened,” she said. “The gun that was used in that shooting was taken from a friend, who just had guns lying around, but he’s not liable.”

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