Governor Kitzhaber Gears Up For Universal Background Checks In 2015
OFF recently learned that the Oregon State Police have a new policy dealing with firearms purchase denials. Gun dealers in Oregon were sent a letter from the State Police telling them of a revision in OSP policy and stating: “This revision will include enforcement action involving persons attempting an unlawful firearms transfer through a licensed firearm dealer, during a voluntary private party check or a background check at a gun show.” We were also informed that the State Police had sent a bulletin to troopers informing them of this policy, but were unable to acquire a copy until now.You can see that bulletin here.
Note that the bulletin says the following:
FICS will report the Denial of a Firearm Transaction to OSP Dispatch.
The incident will be dispatched as a call for service,including suspect name,dealer location,and reason for denial. Sworn personnel will respond and take appropriate enforcement action.
After enforcement is completed, OSP personnel will clear the CAD call with a reportable clearance code.
Investigative consideration- The statutes above require you to prove the suspect“knowingly”was aware they are not qualified for these transactions. The suspect’s culpable mental state will need to be determined.
OFF has now spoken to
two four persons who attempted firearms purchases, were denied and had State Troopers dispatched to “investigate.”
In the first instance, a buyer was attempting to purchase a pistol and the dealer received a notice of a “delay” on his computer terminal. Oddly, the “delay” provided no estimate of when the OSP expected to have the issue resolved, so the dealer called OSP and was told “We are working on it.”
The dealer asked the customer to wait (hoping for an approval) and then a State Trooper arrived looking for the customer. The trooper took the customer to the parking lot for an “investigation” where the trooper explained he did not know the specific reason for the denial. He was only told the customer had a Federal hold for mental health issues.
The customer told the trooper that he had never been involuntarily committed as the law requires for such a denial. We were told by both the dealer and the customer that the trooper was professional and apologetic for the intrusion and was clearly not comfortable being pulled off patrol for this “call for service.”
The trooper reported that the new rule came directly from the Governor. The customer was not arrested or further detained. No action was taken against him but he was denied the purchase.
A similar event took place yesterday. A customer attempted a purchase and was denied.
The customer had no idea why, as he had purchased firearms in the past and even had had a concealed handgun license.
After leaving the store, a State Trooper came to the business looking for the customer. The trooper then went to the home of the customer. The trooper told the customer that he did not know why he had been dispatched and had no record of any criminal history of the “suspect.”
Again, the report from the denied party was that the trooper was professional and apologetic for the intrusion and that the trooper informed him that this new policy was directly from the Governor. Again, there was no arrest, and no action was taken against the customer. But of course, once again a State Trooper was removed from patrol to “investigate” a person who was attempting to purchase a firearm when there was no evidence that the buyer was attempting an illegal purchase.
No arrests were made.
We believe this policy is a prelude to another attempt to require universal background checks in the coming legislative session. You will recall that when Floyd Prozanski attempted to pass this in 2014, he was ridiculed because it was well known that when a person failed a background check as the result of past felonies there was virtually never any police action or prosecutions.
So to respond to that criticism and lay the ground work for a new bill, the Governor has ordered State Police to leave patrols to respond to every denial, no matter how unjustified. The two buyers we spoke to were lucky. They were not hauled off to jail pending completion of an “investigation.” But both had to deal with the embarrassment of being detained and questioned by the State Police. (One in front of his children.)
This new policy illuminates the failures in the background check system and is nothing more than another politically motivated attack on gun owners. Furthermore, it’s an outrageous misuse of scarce police resources. The State Police have long complained about being understaffed. Now they are being dragged off of traffic patrols to enforce what at very least should be handled by local cops.
Please remember if you become the subject of one of these “investigations” that you are not required to answer any questions without the advice of a lawyer.