Initiative petition seeks gun storage requirements

A selection of long rifles lines the wall in the sporting goods section of the D&B supply store in Pendleton. An initiative petition filed Monday would require that a person who owns or possesses a firearm to “secure the firearm with a trigger or cable lock engaged or in a locked container equipped with a tamper-resistant lock.”

SALEM — Advocates want to get a second gun-related measure on the statewide ballot in November.

Initiative Petition 44, filed Monday, would create additional storage, transfer and reporting requirements for gun owners.

The petition’s filing follows the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., and subsequent student walk-outs and marches in support of tightening gun regulations.

It also follows another statewide initiative petition, IP 43, that would ban the sale of certain types of firearms in Oregon and require current owners of those types of guns to undergo a new background check and register them.

The new measure filed on Monday would amend state statutes to require that a person who owns or possesses a firearm to “secure the firearm with a trigger or cable lock engaged or in a locked container equipped with a tamper-resistant lock.”

It would also require a person who “owns, possesses or controls” a firearm to report if the gun was stolen or lost within 24 hours of learning of the theft or loss. Additionally, it would require people transferring firearms to do so with a trigger or cable lock engaged or in a locked container with a tamper-resistant lock.

Transfer is defined in the measure as “the delivery of a firearm, including, but not limited to, sale, gift, loan or lease of the firearm.”

Finally, the measure would require that a person transferring a firearm to a minor must directly supervise the minor’s use of the firearm.

Under the measure, gun owners would also face liability for injuries that result from failure to meet those requirements, unless the injury “results from a lawful act of self-defense or defense of another person.” The liability would apply for five years after a violation of the measure, such as an unsecured transfer.

One of the petitioners, Paul Kemp, says part of the impetus behind the measure was the death of his brother-in-law, Steve Forsyth, who was killed in the Dec. 11, 2012 Clackamas Town Center shooting.

The shooter, who killed Forsyth, 45, and Cindy Ann Yuille, 54, and injured a 15-year-old girl, before killing himself, stole the gun, a Stag Arms AR-15, from a friend.

“Most folks who have guns are pretty good about securing them,” Kemp, himself a gun owner, said. “The problem is, there’s too many folks who aren’t.”

The idea, says Jake Weigler, a spokesman for Oregonians For Safe Gun Storage, which supports the petition, is to create an enforcement system in the event that a crime is committed, similar to how adults can be held liable if they furnish alcohol to a minor.

The state doesn’t go around searching your liquor cabinet, but if, for example, a minor gets into a car accident while intoxicated and authorities learn that an adult purchased or provided them alcohol, then the law can be enforced.

Kevin Starrett, head of the Oregon Firearms Federation, criticized IP 44, and said that a gun owner should have the right to store the gun in a manner they see fit and that is in line with their “personal circumstances,” such as whether or not there are young children in the home.

“This is not how you solve the problem of people who use guns in a criminal fashion, by punishing people who don’t use guns in a criminal fashion,” Starrett said.

Starrett also took issue with a section of the measure that would hold a gun owner who transferred a gun without securing it — either with a trigger lock, cable lock or secured container — liable for another person’s injuries for five years after the gun is transferred.

Gun control advocates have tried to pass similar legislation in prior legislative sessions, mostly focused on preventing minors’ access to firearms.

Petitioners are aiming for the November 2018 ballot. In order to go forward in the ballot title process, the petitioners must collect 1,000 sponsorship signatures.

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