Today is your day to join the good fight.

April 20, 1999. Columbine High School Shooting.

Seventeen years ago today, gun violence stole the lives of 12 students and one teacher at Columbine High School. Twenty other people were wounded. Tragically, Columbine wasn’t the first mass shooting at a school, nor was it the last.

Since 1999, a new generation of children have grown up and are now in their own last years of high school like so many of the Columbine students seventeen years ago. Now, however, because of the regularity of mass shootings and a government that values gun money over lives of American children, this cohort of students have often had active-shooter lockdown drills. They are called Generation Lockdown.

But make no mistake: while Generation Lockdown was growing up, much was done to fight the gun lobby and educate Americans about preventing gun violence. Ceasefire Oregon has been working since 1999 to stop bad gun bills from being enacted and to promote effective, reasonable laws to reduce gun violence like Oregon’s universal background check law. Ceasefire Oregon Education Foundation has worked since 1994 to take guns off the streets and educate Oregonians about safe storage (Asking Saves Kids).

We were far from the only ones who rolled up our sleeves and got to work.

Across the country, the Brady Campaign worked ferociously for stronger national and state guns laws. States United to Prevent Gun Violence was created as an umbrella organization for the many state gun violence prevention (GVP) groups that formed. Center for American Progress threw its considerable power into the fight. Other national GVP groups formed including the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, Stop Handgun Violence, Everytown for Gun Safety, Moms Demand Action, Americans for Responsible Solutions and Newtown Action Alliance. The Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence was formed in 1999 to help thousands of GVP activists and groups understand state and national gun laws.

One of the most courageous GVP activists is Tom Mauser whose son, Daniel, was killed at Columbine High School. Tom has been on a GVP crusade of truly epic proportions since 1999. Tom once said,

“Our goal is to honor Daniel with acts of hope, and not mar our memory of him with anger or hatred or despair.”

So please join GVP activists like Tom Mauser, Donna Dees, Sandy and Lonnie Phillips, , Richard Martinez and thousands of others who have helped changed hearts and laws while Generation Lockdown was growing up. Despite what the gun lobby would like you to believe, the GVP movement has made tremendous progress, and we are just getting warmed up!

Below is a list of groups where you can find more information about how to join the good fight. Don’t worry if you don’t know what to do. We were all beginners once and we will help you.

Join us to honor those we have lost and to change American culture so we won’t have another Generation Lockdown.

Welcome to the good fight.

Penny Okamoto, Executive Director
Ceasefire Oregon

States United to Prevent Gun Violence Check States United for your state GVP group
Brady Campaign
Center for American Progress
Coalition to Stop Gun Violence
Stop Handgun Violence
Everytown for Gun Safety
Moms Demand Action
Americans for Responsible Solutions
Newtown Action Alliance
Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence


On April 16, Ceasefire Oregon Education Foundation supporters joined COEF board members, author Heidi Yewman, Paul Kemp of Gun Owners for Responsible Ownership, and Andrew Perez at a special presentation of “The Amish Project” at the Portland Actors Conservatory (PAC).

“The Amish Project” is a powerful play that explores the meaning of forgiveness against the backdrop of the Nickel Mines shooting at an Amish school house on October 2, 2006. Please take time to attend a performance. Ceasefire Oregon Education Foundation extends our special thanks to Director Beth Harper, the amazing PAC actors, Heidi Yewman, Paul Kemp, Andrew Perez and Samson of PAC.

All societies struggle with violence. In the United States, however, readily available guns allow people who have thoughts of violence to quickly and easily turn violent thoughts into very real bloodshed.

Ultimately, our society puts responsibility upon the shooter for the shooting. Should the gun industry bear the responsibility as well?

The willingness of our government to support the gun lobby’s legislative agenda, coupled with the gun lobby’s vile marketing campaigns, have made our country unique among civilized nations. America is the only Western nation that allows guns to be sold anywhere, anytime, with very few, if any, safety checks or requirements.

If the Nickel Mines shooter didn’t have easy access to a gun, would he have committed this atrocity? Would he have killed 5 innocent school girls and left three others wounded?

Who is responsible for gun violence? To whom does our forgiveness belong? An angry shooter? A young man who unintentionally shot a best friend? A government that allows our country to be inundated with firearms? The gun manufacturers?

COEF urges you to see “The Amish Project” and share your thoughts with us on Facebook or Twitter at @CeasefireOregon.

If you missed the special performance, you can still attend one of the remaining performances. Tickets are still available for shows this week at Portland Actors Conservatory.

Event Location
Portland Actors Conservatory
1436 SW Montgomery Street
Portland, OR 97201

The Ceasefire Oregon Education Foundation is honored to partner with the Portland Actors Conservatory for a special presentation of "The Amish Project."

"The Amish Project," a play written by Jessica Dickey and directed by Beth Harper, explores what it means to forgive.

Saturday, April 16, 7:30 PM
1436 SW Montgomery
Portland, Oregon

"The Amish Project" is a fictional representation of a real shooting that took place on October 2, 2006.

COEF will facilitate a panel discussion immediately after the play.

Tickets are available online HERE through COEF's partner, States United to Prevent Gun Violence.

Tickets are $15 to $25 based on ability to pay. All proceeds benefit the Ceasefire Oregon Education Foundation. Tickets are available online HERE through COEF's partner, States United to Prevent Gun Violence.

Background information on the Amish Schoolhouse shooting:
On October 2, 2006, eight girls were shot, killing five young girls, at the West Nickel Mines School, an Amish one-room schoolhouse in the Old Order Amish community of Nickel Mines, a village in Pennsylvania. The gunman took the girls hostage and shot eight out of ten girls (aged 6–13), killing five, before committing suicide in the schoolhouse. The Amish community responded with forgiveness and reconciliation.


Portland Mayor Hales Declares June 19 to be ASK (Asking Saves Kids) Day in Portland

Whereas, over 40% of United States homes with children have guns, many are left unlocked and loaded[1}; and

Whereas, every day, 8 U.S. children and teens die from gun violence and 42 children and teens are shot and survive[2]; and

Whereas, the ASK (Asking Saves Kids) national public health campaign urges parents to ASK their neighbors, friends, and relatives if there is a gun in their home before sending a child to play; and

Whereas, the ASK program offers a real solution that all Portlanders can adopt to help protect families and children and that works immediately to save lives; and

Whereas, the power of the ASK Campaign is its inclusion of all individuals concerned with children's safety, including gun owners, and makes one solution to gun violence a discussion about public safety and responsible parenting; and

Whereas, the City of Portland is committed to protecting children from gun violence through the Community Peace Coalition, Enough is Enough PDX and ordinances to keep children safe from unsecured weapons;

Now, therefore, I, Charlie Hales, Mayor of the City of Portland, Oregon, the “City of Roses,” do hereby proclaim June 19, 2015, to be ASK Day (Asking Saves Kids) in Portland, and encourage all residents to observe this day by asking their children's and grandchildren's friends' parents if there is a gun where their child plays, and, if the answer is yes, is it unloaded and stored safely.

[1} Johnson R, et al. AJPM.2004;27(2):173-182, and 80% of unintentional firearm deaths of children under age 15 occur in a home (NVDRS online cited 2014 Apr 2)
[2] data retrieved 12/28/2012 from CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control’s Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System, www.cdc.gov/ncipc/wisqars

The Ceasefire Oregon Education Foundation works to reduce gun violence by educating the public and providing opportunities to dispose of unwanted firearms. For information about our work, please click on the links above. We welcome your participation.

The Ceasefire Oregon Education Foundation works to reduce gun violence by educating the public and providing opportunities to dispose of unwanted firearms. The Annual Gun-Turn-In (GTI) is an event run by the municipal police department in any community to collect un-wanted firearms from local citizens. it is sponsored and supported by COEF. We offer compensation for the weapons through gift cards from local businesses in varying amounts. If you have an un-wanted, un-used, or inadequately stored firearm in your possession, please consider this valuable vent for permanent retirement of your gun. No questions are asked of anyone who wants to take advantage of this opportunity. The police take the weapons out of circulation and destroy them. We welcome your participation.


Gun Turn-Ins (GTIs) are notoriously expensive but worth every red cent to prevent a curious child from unintentionally shooting herself or to thwart a suicide. COEF has been hosting GTIs in Oregon for TWENTY years. Over 8,000 guns have been retired in that time. We like to think that some shootings, injuries, and even deaths have been averted because of our efforts. The majority of our funds has gone toward the funding of these GTIs. The last one, very successful, in Newport, cost $18,100. Gift cards were given in various amounts for differing classes of guns. A total of 139 guns were brought off the streets. The Newport area is safer and more secure because of this event.

None of the gift cards are donated. COEF pays for all of them. We would like to extend these GTIs to multiple areas of the state. Currently, we hope to stage a gun turn-in this spring in Portland. As supporters of the reduction of gun violence in the state of Oregon, please think about a special donation toward the holding of this event. The better funding we have, the more guns we can bring in off the streets, making them safer for our children and ourselves, and reducing the chances of teen violence, suicides, school shootings, and other victimizations. We invite you to be a part of these efforts toward a safer, happier community. Thank you for your past and continuing interest in our efforts.


Keep Guns Out of Our Schools

In September 2011, the Oregon Court of Appeals invalidated a longstanding administrative rule that prohibited guns on Oregon college campuses, finding that the rule was preempted by a state statute. As a result, people with concealed handgun licenses can now carry loaded, hidden handguns on Oregon's public college campuses.

Some people with concealed handgun licenses are insisting that they are also entitled to bring their loaded, hidden handguns into high schools, middle schools, and elementary schools throughout Oregon. They have, for example, already strong-armed the Newberg School District into dropping its ban on guns in schools.

Armed civilians in our schools will put our faculty and students in greater danger of being shot. Permitting guns in our schools will make them less safe.

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