Though the final bill hasn’t been made public, it’s clear the 2019 Oregon Legislature will be asked to approve a measure requiring people to keep their guns under lock and key, or else. Some of what is being proposed makes sense, but there are serious flaws, as well.
Under the proposals, gun owners in Oregon apparently would be required to keep their guns locked up. Failure to do so could bring a $500 fine, which would increase to $2,000 if a child got ahold of the gun.
In addition, shooting victims would have better luck suing a homeowner for damages if their injuries came from guns that were lost or stolen and the owner failed to report the problem to police.
Oregon does have a gun theft problem, to be sure. More than 900 firearms were stolen in the state in 2017, and a gun-lock law might have prevented some of those thefts.
Too, 11.9 people of every 100,000 Oregonians lost their lives to guns in 2016, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Most of those deaths were suicides. While stricter gun-lock laws might change those figures, they are no cure for the problem.
Meanwhile, a strict lock law could create problems of its own.
There are people in Oregon who live miles from law enforcement who want guns readily available for their own safety. For that matter, there are people in the middle of Bend — or Portland — who want a bedside gun for the same reason.
For those people, having to keep a gun locked up would defeat the purpose of having it in the first place.