SALEM, OR (KPTV) – Seven years after the Clackamas Town Center shooting, a local non-profit founded by the victim’s families wants to make it possible for gun owners to be held liable.

After lobbying state legislators this past session unsuccessfully, the nonprofit State of Safety Actions now looks to November 2020, where they hope Oregon voters will pass one of the largest gun measures in the state.

Paul Kemp says he wants Oregon to take action.

“If I bought my son when he was in high school, if I bought him a 12-pack of beer and he was impaired, and he hurt himself or others, I’d be liable,” Kemp said.

Kemp’s brother-in-law, Steve Forsyth, was killed in the 2012 Clackamas Town Center shooting. According to deputies, the gunman used a rifle that was taken from a roommate.

"Why, why is a firearm, which is far more deadly, exempt from that responsibility and liability?” Kemp said. “When there are so many other ways we are held liable for our actions?”

Earlier this year, the Cindy Yullie and Steve Forsyth Act did not gain enough floor votes to pass. The group now plans to put the issue before voters as a ballot initiative in 2020. They filed their intent with the secretary of state Thursday.

If the act is passed, all firearms would be required to remain locked when not in use or when being moved; minors would be barred from using a firearm without supervision; owners would be required to notify law enforcement within 24 hours of finding their firearm was lost or stolen; and for any firearm used that injures person or property, its rightful owner is held liable, even if that gun was lost or stolen, unless the owner reported it.

Those found in violation could be fined up to $2,000. Kemp says most gun owners in Oregon already follow safe storage practices and that this initiative is to create an incentive for those who don’t.

“Same thing we’ve done with drunk driving laws, you know, we’re holding restaurants and bars and servers and other adults, we’re holding them responsible, it’s changing behavior, that’s what we need to do,” Kemp said.

Kemp, who is a gun owner himself, says keeping firearms locked and secured doesn’t make it any harder to access in an emergency and that there is no excuse not to. He also believes this proposal would save loves, especially children.

According to the Oregon Health Authority, 50,000 Oregon children live in homes with loaded guns; 26,000 of guns are not kept locked, OHA says.

Copyright 2019 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.

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(7) comments


So, Paul Kemp doesn’t understand the difference between illegally furnishing a minor with alcohol, and a criminal stealing a firearm? I tend to keep my firearms locked up anyway, and I can’t think of a single gun owner who WOULDN’T report the theft of a firearm. We don’t blame a vehicle manufacturer, a distillery, a brewery, or a lawful alcohol merchant responsible for the actions of somebody who drinks and drives and ends up hurting or killing somebody. Why insist on further erosions of our freedoms instead of actually enforcing the laws already on the books? Or can we just assume that they don’t have any intention of really enforcing new laws that they pass?


A new law will not return the life of the deceased brother. Create laws that go after criminals.


More lies and deceit by the democraps. This, along with other gun laws, only favor the criminals who are intent on disobeying any law to fulfill their desires. More and more demoncrap encourage and help criminals all the while leaving law abiding citizens defenseless. It’s sad what happened at clackamas town square but removing rights from citizens will only make our society weaker and more enticing for criminals.

David Oregon

We already have laws, both Fed and State, that encompass the majority of what they are proposing. The people who break the Law, don't care about new laws. Enforce the ones we have and then figure out which ones don't work or need amending.


Here are some more facts from DOJ and CDC, annually: Home invasion injuries = 266,560 Unintentional firearm injuries = 20,488 All-intents firearm injuries = 133,895 Unintentional firearm deaths = 486 All-intents firearm deaths = 39,773 So it is abundantly clear that injuries from home invasions are far more likely than injuries from unsecured firearms in homes. Any way you look at it, laws requiring firearms to be locked up will do more harm than good.


Sadly, those who are pushing this irresponsible and misleading ballot initiative are either willfully ignorant or simply not very wise. Following their logic would mean that locking up all household and yard chemicals, household knives, yard trimming shears, and myriad other potentially dangerous items would also be a good idea. And, the notion that locking up a firearm does not render a firearm nearly useless in a self defense situation is nonsense. Law enforcement stats show that a violent encounter is over in 3 seconds, average. No one can honestly say a locked firearm can be retrieved in less than 3 seconds. In addition, in a life or death situation fine motor skills are virtually nonexistent. No way a person fearing for their life can fumble with a lock to retrieve their firearm. Nonsense, nonsense, nonsense. In case you are tempted to think this initiative sounds "good", please consider the following: While creating the crime of unlawful storage of firearm may well provide a law enforcement tool for this specific negligent behavior, legislating prescriptive behavior requirements will do NOTHING to improve public safety. This is because it is not possible to legislate behavior…only education can change behavior. Means for addressing youth accidental contact with a gun lie in age appropriate education of youth about guns and gun safety, and educating adults in the need and how to keep guns away from youth. Legislating prescriptive means of keeping guns away from youth (such as means for securing guns) is a poor and irresponsible substitute for education. Legislating prescriptive requirements also ignores the many effective means of keeping guns away from youth that may best fit the gun owner’s family and safety. One-size-fits-all solutions by government nearly always fail and nearly always cause unintended negative consequences. However, legislating consequences for negligence in keeping guns away from youth IS an appropriate, responsible action. Specific failings include: · Safety, especially firearm safety, cannot be can only be taught. · Failure to account for the circumstances when a youth gains unauthorized possession of a firearm when that firearm was initially in an authorized person’s possession. · Legislating prescriptive requirements ignores the many effective means of keeping guns away from youth that may best fit the gun owner’s family and safety. · The stipulation worded “trigger or cable lock that meets or exceeds the minimum specifications established by” ignores the fact that Oregon does not have the power to drive the market for design, manufacture, and marketing of trigger or cable locks. The end result of this naïve stipulation could leave Oregonians without a legal means of compliance. . The stipulation worded “a firearm is not secured if a key, combination or other means of opening a lock or container is readily available to a person the owner or possessor has not authorized to carry or control the firearm” ignores the existence of standard shop/home tools which may be used to remove a lock. In addition, the wording ignores that the way an unauthorized person may know of the existence/location of a firearm will also allow an unauthorized person to know the location of a lock key.


There is a story about someone being arrested with a gun in the Portland area about every other day but no one keeps track of where the guns come from. Should have some hard data before passing laws that will be counter productive.

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