SALEM, OR -- Oregon gun stores would post anti-suicide material on counters under a bill in the Legislature. State Representative Knute Buehler (R-Bend) says 83% of gun deaths in Oregon are the result of suicide. "If we’re really serious about stopping gun-related violence and healing our wounds, we really need to focus on our mental health system in preventing suicides."
Under the bill, the Oregon Health Authority would write the anti-suicide message, "And provide it to gun dealers to display at the point of sale," says Buehler.
State Senator Elizabeth Steiner-Hayward (D-Beaverton) says, "This is not a gun bill, this is a mental health bill." But Kevin Starrett, with the Oregon Firearms Federation says, "This bill is very much about guns." He claims the bill singles out gun owners, ignoring other causes of suicide, like drug overdoses. "We do not ask pharmacists or doctors to give out suicide prevention material." Starrett questions whether the OHA could write the material in a way that isn't biased against gun ownership.
The bill remains in committee.