HILLSBORO, Ore. -- A local group called Moms Demand Action says their mission is to start a conversation and figure out how to protect children.
One of the organizers said initially only about five people were expected at a pre-planned meeting. But on Friday, about 100 people showed up.
That number spiked after the recent school shooting in Florida that left 17 kids and staff dead.
Sharri Anderson knows, what it’s like to fear for her child’s safety. She said four years ago, her daughter had a lockdown at her high school.
“She texted me from the corner of the classroom and we thought there was an active gunman in the school,” said Anderson.
Fortunately, no students were hurt. Apparently the lockdown was triggered when person with a gun was seen walking around the perimeter of the school. Still, it’s an experience that has stuck with Anderson.
“It affects you in such a deeply emotional way. As a mom, I felt in that moment, powerless,” she said.
After that, Anderson vowed to make a difference. She got involved with Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.
“People are angry. They're fed up and they want to be free from fear,” Anderson said.
On Friday, people packed into the Vault Theater in Hillsboro. Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici attended too.
“We need to make sure we do everything we can to make sure this doesn't happen in another school or another place of worship, another shopping mall, another concert. It's just unacceptable and enough is enough,” said Bonamici.
She talked about how she and her fellow lawmakers are pushing for universal background checks and limiting how many bullets magazines can hold.
“Oregon has background checks passed, in part, by the legislature and in part by voters. But a lot of states don’t and if we don’t have universal background checks at the federal level, then somebody can just go to another state and easily buy a gun and then come to a state that has more stringent regulations,” Bonamici said.
She said in Washington D.C. there seems to be more bipartisanship when it comes to guns. Bonamici said what’s likely to get bipartisan support is a move to allow research into gun violence.
“We have not been able to study what works best to prevent gun violence at the federal level because there’s a prohibition in law that forbids the Centers for Disease Control from doing that research. The sponsor of that amendment years ago said I wish I wouldn’t have done that,” said Bonamici.
“We’re starting to see more bipartisan support even for things like reinstating the ban on assault-style weapons which was in effect for 10 years and expired,” she said.
Gun enthusiasts we spoke with said they support making sure the wrong people don’t get guns, but hope responsible gun owners aren't targeted.
“What I would not like to see is a ban on a specific gun in particular. But yes, we should probably do a little bit better on our background checks and making sure people are mentally capable and stable to have guns,” said Cody Johnson, who is a gun owner.
“We're not after anybody's guns. We just want to live free from fear,” said Anderson.
She added that Moms Demand Action supports the Second Amendment and there are people in the group who are hunters, gun owners, and military members. Anderson herself is set to inherit her father’s guns and she plans to keep them for their sentimental value.