SALEM, Ore. (CN) – Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed a law Monday aiming to close the loophole that allows people convicted of domestic violence and stalking to buy and keep guns.
The law closing the “Intimate Partner Loophole” had bipartisan support in the Legislature after being introduced by Brown.
After the bill passed the Oregon Senate last month, Brown said in a statement that “ending senseless gun violence is possible if we put politics aside and work together on practical solutions.”
The bill passed 16-13, just eight days after the deadly shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida.
After meeting with a group of students Monday afternoon, Brown signed the bill into law. The governor said she “couldn’t be more proud to do it.”
"I'm hopeful that the tide is turning on our nation's gun debate, and that we now have the chance to enact meaningful change,” Brown said in a statement.
“As we celebrate Oregon's victory, we must keep looking ahead to the next step towards stopping senseless gun violence. We need national action and federal legislation."
The law will allow police to confiscate guns from people convicted of domestic violence or stalking. Previously, the law only allowed the confiscation of guns when the offender was married to the victim.
In several high-profile mass shootings in recent years, the perpetrator had a history of domestic violence or stalking.
The advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety found that 54 percent of mass shootings between 2009 and 2016 were related to “domestic or family violence.”
Devin Patrick Kelley, who killed 27 people at a Baptist church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, this past November, had been court-martialed from the Air Force and was prohibited from owning guns due to a domestic violence conviction.
As the 2018 legislative session came to a close, Brown indicated that passing the new gun law was a top priority.
Gun rights advocates like the National Rifle Association have predictably opposed such legislation, calling it overly broad.
One Democrat, state Sen. Betsy Johnson from Scappoose, voted against the bill saying it was not time for an “emotional response.”
After the Legislature passed the bill last month, Democratic state Sen. Floyd Prozanski told lawmakers about his sister, who was murdered by her boyfriend.
“Her murderer was her intimate partner. Her murderer was her domestic abuser. Her murderer killed her with a handgun,” Prozanski said.
The senator based in Eugene said he is a long-time gun owner, but it was time to pass this law to protect domestic violence victims.
Washington State legislators voted 94-4 to pass a similar bill this past week. A recently created law enforcement task force in Seattle sought to collect guns from abusers.
Almost 200 guns have already been confiscated from people with domestic violence or risk-protection orders as part of the pilot program by Seattle and King County law enforcement, the Seattle Times reported.
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