Debate over gun laws taken to steps of state Capitol - KPTV - FOX 12

Debate over gun laws taken to steps of state Capitol

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SALEM, OR (KPTV) -

A gun rally outside the state Capitol was designed to bring attention to gun safety laws.

It specifically was focused on two bills going before the Senate.

One would keep guns away from schools, while the other would focus on universal background checks.

Not everyone at the rally was in support for stricter rules.

It was a day of action as the Oregon Alliance to Prevent Gun Violence gathered on the steps of the state Capitol to spread their message, which is to get common sense gun laws passed.

"This is such an important issue, it seems absolutely crazy that we even have to fight for this sort of thing," said Judy Cirello, who supports stricter rules.

About 100 people came out, some even carrying signs with their messages supporting the new rules for gun owners because many of them believe gun violence needs to stop.

"Over 400 people a year die in our state from gun violence and it's almost double the amount of people who die in car accidents," said Dr. Mindy Sobota, who said more needs to be done to keep people from dying from gun violence.

There are two main proposed bills that will go before the Senate.

One would prohibit guns in K-12 schools unless carried by public safety officers or under a written policy.

The other bill would require a universal background check on all guns sales or transfers between private parties.

"If you're a law-abiding citizen, you have nothing to fear about buying a gun," said Paul Kemp, who is a gun owner but supports the strict rules.

For Kemp, the issue of gun violence hits close to home because he lost his brother-in-law, Steve Forsyth, during the Clackamas Town Center shooting last December.

"The majority of the American people after these last shooting events want background checks, they want changes made and yet the politicians are still feeling intimidated," said Kemp.

Opponents of stricter gun rules stood nearby with pro-gun signs.

They said that these rules are unreasonable and that even if there were stricter rules, many of the recent shootings wouldn't have been prevented.

"The Second Amendment comes with rights and responsibilities," added Kemp.

Supporters of these gun laws say they're not trying to take guns away or keep people from owning them, they just want to make sure that those guns don't end up in the wrong hands.

Several concerned citizens are meeting with their elected officials to urge them to support these bills.

The first hearing on these gun laws takes place on Friday.

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