WASHINGTON, D.C. — A law group dedicated to passing stricter gun legislation says it has raised Oregon's rating following the implementation of several new gun laws.
Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence releases a "Gun Law Scorecard" every year, rating each state by how strong their gun laws are. By the Giffords' standards, 22 states received an F this year. Oregon rose slightly from a C to a C+.
"Oregon strengthened its moderately strong gun laws in 2018 by prohibiting stalkers from owning firearms, expanding domestic violence protections to apply to dating partners, and improving law enforcement's ability to investigate attempted firearm purchases by prohibited people," Giffords Law Center said in a statement.
One of the examples cited is Oregon's Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) or "red flag" law, which allows law enforcement to confiscate weapons from someone reported as potentially dangerous to themselves or others, once approved by a judge.
The other laws cited prohibit stalkers or domestic abusers under a restraining order from keeping firearms. This was recently expanded to include all "intimate partners" — such as a boyfriend or girlfriend — and not just family members or spouses.
According to the Giffords Law Center, "states with stronger gun laws have lower gun death rates and save more lives."
“America’s devastating gun violence epidemic is growing and impacting every part of our country because too many lawmakers would rather wish it away than acknowledge their role in advancing solutions to make our communities safer,” said Robyn Thomas, executive director of Giffords Law Center. “This public safety threat needs to be addressed with facts, evidence, and action."
While targeted gun laws like those passed in 2018 have gone largely unnoticed in Oregon, efforts to pass more sweeping and restrictive gun control measures have faced stiff resistance.
"The passage of any of these would be another step back for Oregon, which once had some of the country's saner gun laws, but has in recent years embraced everything from background check requirements for private gun transfers to extreme risk protection orders — which empower law enforcement to confiscate guns from otherwise law-abiding citizens who are feared to be a harm to themselves or others," said Christian Britschgi, associate editor at Reason in a January, 2019 article.
According to Giffords, of the 10 states in the U.S. with the lowest gun death rates, seven received a B+ or better on the Gun Law Scorecard — including New Jersey (A), California (A), Hawaii (A-), Massachusetts (A-), and New York (A-). Of the 10 states with the highest gun death rates, all received an F rating — including Alaska, Alabama, Montana, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Arkansas, Wyoming, West Virginia, and New Mexico.