(Update: Adding video, comments from co-founder of Gun Owners for Responsible Ownership)
SALEM, Or. (KTVZ) -- The group Oregon Moms Demand Action and student supporters rallied at the Capitol Wednesday, urging lawmakers to pass House Bill 4005, legislation that would require firearms to be stored securely.
In Oregon, there is currently no requirement for gun owners to secure their firearms. HB 4005 would require gun owners to store and lock away all firearms when they are not in use.
NewsChannel 21 spoke with a rally participant in Salem by FaceTime to hear why she feels strongly about passing legislation for gun storage.
Hilary Uhlig, a volunteer leader with Oregon Moms Demand Action, said she joined the organization because her children experienced lockdowns at their schools. She hopes stronger firearm regulations, including HB 4005, would prevent other families from going through the same situation.
"If we can ensure that there is a standard of safety for people to secure their firearms when they're unattended, then we know that it will save lives," Uhlig said Wednesday.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the rate of gun deaths in Oregon increased 24% from 2008 to 2017. Moms Demand Action and other supporters of the proposed legislation say requiring secure gun storage would prevent the rise of gun deaths.
"We really think that secure storage is a common sense simple thing that responsible gun owners can do to make sure that we are all safer," Uhlig said.
NewsChannel 21 also spoke with Paul Kemp, one of the co-founders of Gun Owners for Responsible Ownership. Kemp lost his brother-in-law in the Clackamas Town Center shooting in 2012.
Kemp said he supports the legislation because he hopes it will keep firearms, like those meant for hunting and self-defense, from getting into the hands of the wrong people.
"Ultimately, the goal is to change the behavior of the gun owners who are irresponsible and not securing their firearms safely," Kemp said. "Or if they fail to report a theft or a loss that could lead to recovery of the firearm before it’s used to hurt someone, or for someone to take their own life with."
To read the full details of HB 4005, visit the Oregon Legislature website.
The measure is scheduled for a hearing Friday afternoon before the House Judiciary Committee.
The Oregon Firearms Federation, which opposes the bill, claims the storage requirement “will devastate youth shooting programs and prevent young Oregonians from having access to firearms for defense of their families.”
Meanwhile, backers of the gun storage legislation also have proposed an initiative for the November ballot, should lawmakers fail to act.