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Students Urge Action After Oregon Legislators Nix Gun Bill

<p>Members of the student-led gun control organization March For Our Lives hold a press conference in the state&nbsp;Capitol on Thursday, May 23, 2019, in Salem, Ore.</p>

Jonathan Levinson

Members of the student-led gun control organization March For Our Lives hold a press conference in the state Capitol on Thursday, May 23, 2019, in Salem, Ore.

A group of students from the gun safety group March For Our Lives were in Salem on Thursday to meet with Oregon lawmakers and their staff over a recently nixed piece of firearm legislation.

Fifteen-year-old Finn Jacobson and the rest of the March For Our Lives students campaigned for Gov. Kate Brown and various legislators during last year’s midterm election. At the time, Democrats promised to pass gun control laws.

So it’s no surprise Jacobson and others were upset after the governor sacrificed the promised bill to end a Republican walkout earlier this month.

"We canvassed, we fought for the election and the reelection of a lot of these legislators,” Jacobson said. “And to see them trade away our safety like a chess piece is hurtful.”

Jacobson said he and his fellow students understand the importance of the school funding bill Democrats secured in exchange, called the Student Success Act, but he added that it came at a price.

“We can't succeed in our schools if we're dead," Jacobson said.

In a press conference, the students said they aren’t going away and will continue to demand changes to Oregon’s gun laws.

In a 25-3 vote, the Senate passed a narrower gun-related bill Thursday that clarifies the process for complying with existing laws prohibiting individuals convicted of domestic violence or with a qualifying restraining order from possessing a firearm.

Editor’s note: A previous version of this story incorrectly described a new gun law passed by the Oregon Senate. OPB regrets the error.

 is a public media reporting project on the role of guns in American life.

Copyright 2019 Oregon Public Broadcasting

Jonathan Levinson is a multimedia reporter and producer for Oregon Public Broadcasting. He’s the Audion Fellow covering Guns & America.