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Let The Games Begin

01.10.17

The Oregon Legislature, due to convene on Feb. 1, has started making available pending legislation. While there will no doubt be plenty more to come, we wanted to share with you some of the early proposals coming out of Salem.

Two bills in particular caught our eye.

We already told you about Kate Brown’s proposal to institute indefinite delays on gun purchases if the Oregon State Police don’t do their jobs. We shared a draft of that bill a few weeks ago. Now it’s a “bill,” HB 2237. This bill would eliminate the small and rarely used safeguard that allows a firearms transfer to take place after 3 business days have elapsed since the time a background check is initiated, if OSP does not issue a “permission slip” to exercise your rights.

In reality, few dealers are willing to complete a transfer without an approval, many believing they are liable if the check eventually ends up with a denial. The fact is, dealers are protected under Federal law if they complete transfers under these circumstances, but we have heard from more than one dealer who received veiled threats from the OSP and the Feds if they lawfully completed a transfer after 3 days.

While we have seen about 22 bills that effect gun owners, we wanted to tell you about two we found particularly odd: HB 2523 and HB 2526.

Both of these bills are sponsored by Senator Elizabeth Hayward, a Democrat, and House Rep Knute Buehler, a Republican. Both are physicians.

Interestingly, Hayward suffers from mental health issues, which makes her sponsorship of both bills somewhat concerning.

HB 2523 “Authorizes  gun  dealer  to  accept  for  safekeeping  firearm  surrendered  by  person  or  family  or household  member  of  person  who  is  at  risk  of  causing  physical  injury  to  self  or  others  with  firearm.”

The bill would appear to allow a family or household member to take someone else’s guns to a gun store and ask the gun dealer to store them because they think the person who owns the guns is dangerous. The dealer must then secure the gun “in a secure location.”

There is no requirement that the person who took the guns to the gun store have even the smallest qualification to determine another’s state of mind. But the bill gets even stranger. Under the bill, the gun must be returned to whoever brought it in, or whoever can prove ownership of the gun, when they request it. If anyone can explain how this makes sense, please let us know.

Aside from the fact that there is not a single reason why any gun dealer would want to accept this  responsibility with no compensation, it is hard to understand how a person taking your gun to a dealer against your will is not committing a theft. The bill does not require the gun dealer to conduct a background check to return the gun to the person who brought it in, or someone who can “prove” the gun is actually theirs, unless “required under Federal law.” It would appear Docs Buehler and Hayward need an introduction to Gun Laws 101. Keep in mind, under SB 941, which passed in 2015 with strong support of Dr Hayward, it is a crime for a person who is concerned about their mental health to allow a friend to safeguard their firearms.

HB 2526 will require gun dealers to provide “educational” material on suicide. These materials must be in a “prominent location near the point of sale.” The bill requires the Department of Justice to “create or approve” … “firearm safety and suicide prevention material.”  But wait, it gets better. “Multiple versions of materials must be created or approved, to reflect the different local values and cultures within this state.”

Buckle up folks. It is going to be a bizarre legislative session. And we are just getting started.