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Providence Oregon City caregiver faces $500 fine under new law for unlocked firearms.

An employee of Providence Willamette Falls Medical Center in Oregon City who allegedly brought unlocked firearms to the hospital parking lot has been cited under a new state law.

A Providence surgical department staffer's car was found to have two unlocked firearms in its backseat around 1 p.m. on Dec. 21. The alleged violation was contrary to longstanding hospital policies in addition to the new state law.PMG FILE PHOTO: RAYMOND RENDLEMAN - Oregon City police say that an employee of the Providence Willamette Falls Medical Center brought unlocked firearms to the parking lot on Dec. 21.

Under Senate Bill 554, gun owners are required to secure their firearms when not in use. Firearms can be secured in a safe, a gun room or with a trigger lock. Failing to secure a firearm can result in a fine of $500, but fines can increase to $2,000 if a minor accesses an unsecured firearm.

Oregon City Police Department Sgt. Dave Edwins said the citation was likely the first time the OCPD has recommended prosecution under the new state law effective Sept. 25.

"An employee at the hospital had some weapons in his car, and he forgot they were in the back seat, so he was issued a citation for it," Edwins said.

OCPD also expressed concern for valuable firearms being left in plain sight of passersby.

"There have been a lot of vehicle break-ins at Providence, so having weapons visible in the back seat is definitely a concern," Edwins said.

Providence spokesperson Gary Walker said that all main entrances of Providence facilities have "no weapons" signs posted, in line with a longstanding policy that the health care provider has had in place for decades.

"Providence has a no-weapons policy on campus, and there are exceptions for police officers," Walker said.

It's unclear what consequences the employee will face from his employer, anything from a reprimand to termination. Walker said he couldn't speak to the specific case, other than to say that the hospital's HR department is aware of the situation.

"When a policy violation occurs, the supervisor works with HR to review the situation and determine the appropriate actions to take, including any potential disciplinary measures," Walker said.

Providence's employee faces a hearing on the charges at Oregon City Municipal Court later this month. State records will reveal the Providence employee's name if he is found guilty.

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