Oregon like the rest of our country is facing a high uptick in gun violence. There is a myriad of contributing factors including a pandemic that has resulted in social isolation, racial injustice, and political polarization causing fear and anxiety. Regardless of the reason, surely Americans can come together and agree, it is time to pass legislation that requires gun owners to store their firearms securely. Studies have estimated that if half of the households with children switched from leaving their guns unlocked to responsibly storing them all locked, one-third of youth gun suicides and unintentional deaths could be prevented-saving an estimated 251 lives in a single year. 1
Adding their support for secure storage of firearms, HB 2510, two Oregon nurses recently testified before the Oregon House Health Committee, Teri Mills MS, RN, CNE (ret.) and Kate Ballard, BSN, RN. Mills has been an active volunteer for the OR Chapter of Moms Demand Action and Ballard works as a registered nurse at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland, OR. Please read their compelling testimonies that are attached to this blog post.
As gun violence preventionists, advocating to end gun violence, Teri and Kate urge all nurses to get off the sidelines. Write a letter to the editor. Participate in local meetings. Nurses advocate every day for those they care for and must use their trusted, credible voice to inform elected officials we must do more to protect our children and their families. Each and every one of us deserves to live peacefully and feel safe.
1 Monuteaux, M., Azrael, D. & Miller, M. (2019). Association of increased safe household firearm storage with firearm suicide and unintentional death among US youths. JAMA Pediatrics, 173(7), 657-662. Doi: 10.1001/jamapediatrics.2019.1078
Both Teri and Kate generously shared their testimonies. Click the links below to view their powerful messages, delivered to the Oregon House Health Committee in support of secure storage of firearms, House Bill 2510.