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PNS Daily Newscast - October 18, 2017 


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Gun Violence Prevention Advocates: Long Past Time to Pass Control Measures

Stephen Paddock, who killed 58 people in Las Vegas, had 23 guns in his hotel suite, many of them modified with a device that allows for the rapid fire of ammo. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Stephen Paddock, who killed 58 people in Las Vegas, had 23 guns in his hotel suite, many of them modified with a device that allows for the rapid fire of ammo. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
October 9, 2017

PORTLAND, Ore. – More than a week has passed since the tragic shooting in Las Vegas.

Since then, Congress and even the National Rifle Association have talked about regulating guns in at least one small way – by banning a device known as a bump stock that makes a semiautomatic weapon shoot like an automatic, and was used by the Vegas shooter.

But Penny Okamoto, executive director of the gun control advocacy group Ceasefire Oregon, says Congress would save more lives if it passed a bill requiring universal background checks.

"In a way, gun violence prevention advocates are kind of like pharmacists who can only make one drug a year, you know, or one drug every five years,” she states. “That's it. The law won't let you do anything else.

“So what are you going to do? You're going to try to make the one drug that's going to save the greatest number of lives."

Okamoto acknowledges that a background check would not have stopped the shooter in Las Vegas. She also says a ban on bump stocks, as well as high-capacity magazines, would help curb gun violence, especially by mass shooters.

Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock killed 58 people and injured more than 500. He had 23 weapons in his hotel room.

Okamoto says the public's push for tighter gun restrictions has been growing as the country has dealt with more and more mass shootings.

"After Sandy Hook, people were frightened, they were so upset, they were shocked,” she states. “After Orlando, people were really angry. Now people are completely, totally, 100 percent furious.

“And the majority of Americans support common-sense, effective gun laws, including background checks, banning assault rifles, all these different things."

The failure of a petition last week seems to show Oregonians favor stricter gun restrictions as well.

Sponsors of the petition wanted to repeal a state law authorizing "extreme risk protection orders" in which a judge can temporarily allow law enforcement to confiscate weapons from a person deemed a threat to themselves or others.

Sponsors received fewer than half of the signatures needed to put the referendum on the ballot.


Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - OR