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New Oregon law geared to prevent suicide

Posted: 10:39 PM, Jan 09, 2018
Updated: 2018-01-10 05:44:35Z
In Oregon, a new law just took effect that mental health advocates hope will make a difference for those who may be at risk for gun violence.
 
Beverlee Furner grew up around guns, but her views changed with one phone call five years ago.
 
"He actually did shoot himself," Furner said.
 
Furner is talking about her son who suffers from mental illness. 
 
"He researched online what was the best gun to use, the bullet to use and how to position the gun to hit his heart to kill himself, " Furner added.
 
Oregon has taken measures to prevent suicide numbers from rising.
A new law went into effect on January 1st that allows a family member to petition a judge to issue an  "extreme risk protection order" against a person deemed at risk of committing suicide or harming others."
 
"In my situation, it would have prevented a horrible suicide attempt," Furner explained.
 
The person at risk would have 24 hours to hand over their guns to a family member, law enforcement or a gun store. 
But the sheriff of Malheur County weighs in with his 27 years of experience.
 
 
"I can only think of two times when this would have gone into play," Brian Wolfe, Sheriff of Malheur County.
 
One gun retailer worries the law is too vague in its definition of a weapon. 
 
"A deadly weapon can be a car, a knife, a club a hand, as well as a firearm," Said Ron Smallwood, Salesman at a gun store.
 
Smallwood said this law wouldn't fix things.  
 
" I think its a poorly written law," Smallwood added.
 
But Furner said this is not about guns but mental health.
 
"This is a safety net for some that might not be able to make that choice on their own," Furner said.
 
Furner's son lived through the experience, and now she advocates for mental illness issues.
 
The gun owner does not lose his or her gun rights. After 30 days they can petition the courts to get their guns back, but the gun owner can only do this once within a one-year time frame.