Wed, Mar 07, 2018 - Page 7 News List

Oregon governor signs new gun law

STUDENTS SUPPORT:A group of high-school students rallies at the state capital ahead of the signing and the governor met with others in her office afterwards

AP, SALEM, Oregon

A bill prohibiting domestic abusers and people under restraining orders from owning firearms became the US’ first new gun control law since the Feb. 14 Florida high-school massacre.

“Well done Oregon,” Democratic Governor Kate Brown said on Monday after signing the law on the steps of the state Capitol as about 200 people, including high-school students and victims of domestic abuse, applauded and cheered.

State Senator Floyd Prozanski, whose sister was fatally shot by her boyfriend, and Representative Janeen Sollman, who fled her home as a child when her father was in a violent rage, hugged as they stood behind the governor.

The shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, that killed 17 people has created a wave of young anti-gun activists that has now reached cross-country into Oregon.

Students from a high school in the Portland suburb of Lake Oswego traveled 65km to stage a gun-control rally in the state capital, Salem, on Monday morning.

“We are empowered youth,” they chanted, while holding signs that read “End gun violence, our lives matter,” and “Together we can end gun violence.”

“We want to promote change. We’re tired of the massive number of school shootings and the massive lack of action,” 15-year-old student Eli Counce said.

Scarlett Scott-Buck, another student, said she came to protest “because I’m scared to attend my own school. And I’m here to be an activist for my rights — to live, my friends’ rights to live, and my mother’s fear.”

Brown came down from her office to speak to the more than 100 students from Lakeridge High School in Lake Oswego, who sat on a broad stairway underneath the Capitol rotunda. She urged those who are 18 to register to vote.

“You want what?” she asked them.

“Change,” they shouted.

“How do you make change?” Brown asked.

“Vote!” the students shouted.

A couple of hours later, Brown met in her office with a dozen students from different schools.

They agreed more needs to be done, including expanded access to mental health counseling to prevent unstable students from reaching the breaking point and committing violence.

However, some students said gun control is also needed.

“Nationally, I think there needs to be things like assault rifle bans, but also closing the gun-show loophole ... and making it so background checks aren’t time limited,” student Eamon Walsh said as he left the governor’s office.

Such a time limit allowed Dylann Roof to buy the gun he is accused of using to kill nine churchgoers in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2015, Walsh noted.

The bill that Brown signed on Monday closes a loophole in a 2015 law that excluded some abusers from the ban on buying or owning guns and ammunition, such as people who they do not live with the partner they are abusing or threatening, and those under restraining orders.

The measure had been introduced before the Feb. 14 Florida shooting,

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