On May 11, 2015, Oregon became the eighth state to require life-saving Brady background checks for ALL gun sales with the signing of SB 941 into law by Governor Kate Brown. With its passage, Oregon joins Colorado, Connecticut, New York, Delaware, California, Rhode Island, and Washington in requiring background checks for every gun purchase, including purchases made online and at gun shows.
Introduced by State Senator Floyd Prozanski (D-Eugene), the law closes the vast Internet loophole in existing background checks by requiring background checks for ALL gun sales and will ultimately keep guns out of the hands of convicted felons, fugitives, domestic abusers, and other dangerous people. It does not impede law-abiding citizens from buying and owning guns. The law also increases the percentage of the American population covered by expanded Brady background checks on at least all handgun sales from 33 percent to 35 percent.
Oregon’s first step in expanding background checks came in 2000, when Oregon voters overwhelmingly passed a citizen initiative requiring background checks on gun sales at all gun shows by a margin of 62 percent to 38 percent.
The passage of SB 941 on May 11 reflects the will of Oregonians: 87% of voters and 83% of gun owners support a Brady background check for every gun purchase.1 The law’s passage also represents demonstrable momentum in our state-by-state initiative to expand Brady background checks to ALL gun sales, the likes of which our movement hasn’t seen in decades: Oregon is the sixth state to pass expanded background checks since Sandy Hook and the eighth in the country. What’s more, in Nevada, a citizen’s initiative to expand Brady background checks has already qualified for the ballot and will be voted on next year.
By voting to pass SB 941, Oregon’s lawmakers are responding to the very real problem of gun violence and death in their state. Every year, guns kill more than 400 Oregonians. According to the Oregon Health Authority and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, 82% of these gun deaths are suicides, 54% of all homicides involve a gun, and nearly 25% of all firearm homicides involve intimate partner violence.
States that have expanded Brady background checks on gun sales see 46% fewer women killed with guns by intimate partners, 48% fewer law enforcement officers killed, and 48% fewer gun suicides. The statistics don’t lie: this law will save lives.
Oregon’s legislature has succeeded where our national Congress has failed, and Oregon will be safer because of it.
Brady’s efforts to mobilize our advocates at the local level and encourage voters to contact their representatives and the Governor’s office to make their voices heard have once again proven effective. We celebrate with Oregon on the passage of this critical legislation.
1According to a January 2015 poll by Americans for Responsible Solutions