Gun control debate brewing at Oregon Capitol

Some newly elected Democratic leaders in Salem hope to change the debate on gun control, and have proposed a sweeping bill that would put limits on who can own guns and how many guns they can buy every month.

"We are not going to shy away from difficult discussions," said Andrea Salinas, D-Lake Oswego. "I don't think we've necessarily heard from people who are impacted by that fear."

Salinas says she was assisted in crafting the legislation by high school students in Lake Oswego.

Sen. Rob Wagner, D-Lake Oswego, is a co-sponsor of Senate Bill 501.

"Hearing from these high school kids and understanding that they're still going through it was really powerful and we do need to take action," he said. "We do need to start pressing and being a little more on offense than we ever have."

Republican opposition to the bill is strong. Rep. Sherrie Sprenger, R-Scio, says the bill is poorly written and is skeptical it would increase school safety.

"This totally to me seems to me a way to restrict gun ownership," Sprenger said. "If that's the goal, then call it the goal."

Sprenger is critical of how the bill is written and thinks the limit of 20 rounds of ammunition per month is misguided.

"I think we need to talk more holistic than boxes of ammo that have 20 rounds in them," Sprenger said.

Ceasefire Oregon, a gun control advocacy group, says it is enthused the conversation about gun violence is shifting at the state Capitol because of students getting involved.

"It's been almost 20 years since Columbine -- nothing major has happened, nothing," Ceasefire Oregon Executive Director Penny Okamoto said. "They're not going to be the sitting ducks; they're speaking out and they're doing something."

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