Gun Control Safe Storage

Lydia Plukchi of the Oregon Secretary of State's office in Salem, Ore., accepts on Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019, a box containing 2,000 signatures backing a proposed ballot measure that would create the most comprehensive law in America requiring the safe storage of weapons, as worker Amanda Kessel, behind her, looks on. Delivering the box are Henry Wessinger, president of the State of Safety Action which is backing the proposed measure, and Rep. Alissa Keny-Guyer. (AP Photo/Andrew Selsky)

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Carol Manstrom says she lost her 18-year-old son when he grabbed his father's unsecured pistol and shot himself. Paul Kemp lost his brother-in-law when a man opened fire with a stolen AR-15 assault-style rifle at a shopping mall.

On Wednesday, Manstrom and Kemp helped deliver 2,000 signatures to Oregon's elections office as part of an effort to get a measure on the 2020 ballot that would create the stiffest law in America requiring the safe storage of firearms.

The initiative would require guns to be secured with a trigger or cable lock, or in a locked container. It also mandates that a lost or stolen firearm be reported within 24 hours and makes violators of the measure liable for any injury from an unsecured weapon, except in matters of self-defense or defense of another person.

Massachusetts is the only state in the country that requires all people to keep their firearms safely stored when not under their immediate control, said Allison Anderman, managing attorney at Giffords, a gun-control advocacy group. The Oregon initiative goes further because it makes gun owners strictly liable to lawsuits if their unsecured weapons cause injuries or damage.

"I do believe this would be the first law of its kind in the country to impose strict liability on a person who violates the law," Anderman said. "If your gun is used to harm someone else because you violated the state storage law, then you are strictly liable for those damages."

Furthermore, each violation of the proposed law carries fines up to $2,000.

Manstrom, with a cardboard box containing the 2,000 signatures next to her, described how she lost her son Will in 2017, just a month after he and his girlfriend split up. Teens sometimes make impulsive decisions, Manstrom said.

"In the case of my son Will, it was a decision that we'll never be able to take back," Manstrom said at a news conference in the state capitol. "If a loaded gun was not easily accessible to him that night, I believe he would be with us today."

Kemp's brother-in-law was killed by a gunman who had stolen an AR-15 from an acquaintance. The gunman also killed a woman and seriously wounded a third person at the Clackamas Town Center near Portland before killing himself.

"The legal gun owner didn't tell police his guns were missing until (the mall attack) was national news," Kemp said.

Three state lawmakers, also appearing at the news conference, vowed to push a bill in next year's legislative session that would enact the same storage requirements. If it passes, it would render any ballot initiative moot. But if the bill fails, the measure would have a second chance by going directly to voters in November.

Anderman said putting anything between a person's impulse to take their own life and a gun could give the person a moment to reconsider.

Suicides account for 85% of gun deaths in Oregon, said one of the lawmakers, Rep. Alissa Keny-Guyer, a Portland Democrat. The national rate is around 66%, Anderman said.

Safe storage could also reduce the number of school shootings because most minors who commit those arracks obtain the gun from their home or the home of a family member or friend, Anderman said.

A safe-storage law "can really address a whole host of gun related harm," she said.

A firearms storage bill was packaged with other gun-control measures during Oregon's 2019 legislative session that ended in June. However, the effort was scrapped by Democrats in order to lure back Republican senators who had staged a walkout over a school funding tax.

After the news conference Wednesday, supporters delivered the signatures to the elections office. To win a place on the 2020 ballot, 112,020 valid signatures of voters must be turned in by July 2.


This version corrects that strict liability refers to gun owners being liable to lawsuits, apart from any fines imposed through the justice system.


Follow Andrew Selsky on Twitter at

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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(9) comments

Just curious

This makes me afraid in my own home, because if a burglar breaks into my home , I will be unable to defend myself with my gun unloaded and locked up. Every burglar will know that we have to have these guns locked up.

Just an open invitation to rob an elderly person or a female that lives alone in an apartment or Condominium.


This proposed law is a clear indication that some gullible people have no clue about reality. If somebody wants to commit suicide, grabbling a gun and doing it is NO DIFFERENT than jumping out a window - therefore anybody that had an unlocked, unsecured window above ground level should be prosecuted? If I have a gun on my table and somebody breaks into my house and steals it - its my fault? Oregon has a saturation of socialist liberal left that don't back the current laws and demand that society be held accountable because individuals themselves are never guilty....

This is a stupid bill and just a baby step in trying to disarm the 'subjects' of a planned socialist state.




Another "Feel Good" law that targets the law abiding while doing nothing new to stop crime. If I have a gun in my home, hanging on a wall, and my doors and windows are locked, and a person breaks in to steal the gun, under this law I am still liable, but isn't your home your "castle" what penalty is there for the thief? In fact when the doors a windows are locked the gun is "locked up", or is home security merely a sham? On the other hand, when your car is parked in your driveway, and someone steals it, and commits vehicular homicide, do these same rules apply? I suspect they will not. Why is that?


Democrat lawmakers are stupid and they do not care what kind stupid rules they put on law abiding citizens just to make themselves look like they are really doing something good when in fact they are doing something bad !!!!!!!!!!!!!


So, if your a good, law abiding citizen you would not have to worry about being held accountable for anything that may occur if you were to leave it out and someone stole it

Just curious

Wrong. You will have to worry, anybody can enter your home and steal your gun and ammo if these weapons and ammo aren't locked up separately. You will be held liable your gun or gunsif not unloaded and stored in a separate locked cabinets.


Who is going to enforce it? Reactive, not proactive.


exactly !!!

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