Oregon politicians are once again considering legislation requiring safe firearms storage.

The House and Senate Judiciary Committees met in a joint session Wednesday and discussed legislation requiring gun owners to secure their firearms when not in use.

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The legislation would also require gun owners to report a stolen weapon within 72 hours of learning it is missing or face liability for any damages.

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In 2018, a team of researchers at the RAND Corporation looked at how different kinds of gun laws impact homicides and suicides. The lead researcher on that study said they found that safe storage laws can reduce the number of lives lost to suicide and unintentional injury.

“In a moment of crisis, means matter,” said Dr. Ben Hoffman, a professor of pediatrics at the OHSU School of Medicine and an expert in child injury prevention. He addressed the committees Wednesday.

“Having access to lethal means, like a gun, massively increases the risk of death by suicide,” Hoffman said.

Safe storage legislation was part of a package of gun control bills considered in last year’s legislative session, but Oregon Gov. Kate Brown sacrificed those efforts in order to gain Republican support for education funding.

If safe storage doesn’t make it through the Legislature this session, it might be put to the voters. Oregon-based gun safety group State of Safety Action filed an initiative petition in July 2019 to put a safe firearms storage law on the November 2020 ballot.

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