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Training session for signature gathers to support planned ballot measure announced after 31 killed in El Paso and Dayton

PMG FILE PHOTO - A display of firearms in an area gun store.Anti-gun violence activists in Oregon have announced a signature-gathering training session for their planned ballot measure in response to the two mass shootings in the country over the weekend.

The training will take place Sunday afternoon in North Portland. The measure, which includes firearm storage and other requirements, is aimed for the November 2020 general election ballot.

"The horrific shootings over the last 24 hours in El Paso and Dayton can make us feel powerless to stop the repeated acts of carnage taking place in our communities," said Henry Wessinger, president of State of Safety Action.

Twenty-two people were killed at a Walmart in Texas and nine were killed near a nightclub in Ohio. Many more were wounded. The Texas shooting is being investigated as a hate crime.

Oregon lawmakers also spoke out on Sunday.

Democratic Oregon U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden tweeted, "How many more communities must be devastated by gun violence before Mitch McConnell lets the Senate even consider common-sense gun safety legislation?

"Responding with rote offerings of condolences until the next mass shooting is no way to work toward solutions."

Democratic Oregon U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley tweeted, "Another day, another mass shooting in America. This time, El Paso is reeling from the terror of a heinous crime. This is tragic and it will happen again and again until we come to our senses and do something real about gun violence in our country."

Democratic Oregon Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici said, "Gun violence is a preventable and deeply disturbing American tragedy that continues to terrify communities, destroy families, and take away thousands of precious lives every year," said Congresswoman Bonamici. "I'm heartbroken by the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio and by the tragic gun violence that took the life of Deante Strickland in Portland. The House passed bipartisan background check legislation (H.R. 8) that could prevent gun violence and stem this unacceptable loss of life, if only the Senate would take action.

"I call on Mitch McConnell to immediately schedule a vote on H.R. 8 and cease his blockade of this lifesaving bill. I'll continue to work in the House to pass other commonsense measures such as banning high-capacity magazines and assault rifles, supporting public health research on gun violence, and others. It is long past time for Congress to respond to the demands of our constituents to take action to prevent gun violence — both mass shootings like those in El Paso and Dayton, as well as the daily shootings that cause irrevocable harm to families and communities. We must stand up against the hate — and far too often white nationalism — that serves as the motivation for horrific acts of domestic terrorism, such as the El Paso attack. Americans need more than thoughts and prayers and moments of silence. Enough is enough is enough."

Republican Oregon Congrerssman Greg Walden tweeted, "Once again, hate and violence have stricken innocent people going about their everyday lives. The murderer in El Paso should receive quick and certain justice, including any added penalties as a result of his hateful atrocity.

"We must all stand in solidarity against acts of white supremacy, racism and discrimination and the evil nature of its manifestation in violence. Mylene and I send our prayers and condolences to the people of El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio."

Initiative Petition 40 requires:

• Firearms must be secured with a trigger or cable lock or in a locked container when the firearm is not carried by or under the person's direct control.

• Firearms must be transferred in a locked container, or with a trigger or cable lock engaged.

• A lost or stolen firearm must be reported within 24 hours of the time a person knew or should have known about the loss or theft.

• Apart from firearms owned by the minor, or minors engaged in hunting who hold a valid youth hunting license, a minor may not carry or control another person's firearm unless the use of the firearm is being directly supervised.

• Except in matters of self-defense or defense of another person, a person whose violation of this measure results in injury to person or property is strictly liable for the injury.

• Each firearm owned, possessed or transferred in violation of this measure constitutes a separate violation. Violations range from Class C Violations to Class A Violations and carry fines from up to $500 to up to $2,000 per violation.

"The truth is that stronger gun laws can make us safer. That is why State of Safety Action is working hard to require safe gun storage here in Oregon. If people are waking up this morning wondering what they can do to make a difference, I urge them to join our campaign," Wessinger.

The 2019 Oregon Legislature considered a similar measure but Democrats agreed to table it after Republicans threatened to boycott tax reform votes.

More information on the training can be found on the organization's Facebook page at

Additional information on the organization and petition can be found at

You can read a previous Portland Tribune story on the issue here. here.

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