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01.21.12 IT’S SHOWTIME!

Here We Go Again

On February 1, the Oregon Legislature will convene for its first “official” even-year session. While we have had a few warm-ups with “emergency sessions,” this was the first regular annual session, sold to the voters as a way to deal with Oregon’s budget problems.

But there are other problems. As we’ve pointed out in the past, the legislature is not in any way compelled to stick to budget issues. And, as even some legislators have noted, in very short sessions (this one is due to end on Feb. 29) things get rammed through that are poorly drafted, poorly vetted, poorly understood and often not even read. And that’s a dangerous thing.

We do not yet know what will be coming from the anti-gun zealots like Senator Floyd Prozanski in terms of anti-gun bills. One obvious possibility, based on our successful lawsuit against the Oregon University System, is another attempt to ban self-defense firearms on school property.

In 2011, Prozanski “gut and stuffed” a pro-gun bill and turned into a “no guns on school property” bill which died after he passed it out of his committee.

Prozanski made it clear in the past that he will take any pro-gun bill and either completely rewrite it or put poison pills in it. This is what he did during all of 2011. He also manipulated the hearing process to assure that pro-rights people were always at a disadvantage. Expect more of the same.

We have been working closely with pro-gun champion Representative Kim Thatcher to, once again, introduce and pass a bill to protect the privacy of concealed handgun license holders. In 2011, just such a bill passed with wide bipartisan support in the House, only to be killed in the Senate.

While not yet available on the legislative website, the bill is drafted and should be numbered HB 4045.

You can rest assured that the anti-gun, anti-privacy extremists in the Senate, led by Senate President Peter Courtney, will do all they can to defeat this bill. That’s why we need as much pressure as possible to stop them from killing this important legislation. There is just too much at stake.

Most, if not all sheriffs have included notices on their CHL applications which ask the applicant if he or she wants to keep their records private. Many sheriffs believe this will protect them against record demands from nosy “journalists” or others wanting to exploit these lists. They are wrong. This information is still public and very much at risk.

We are going to have a protracted battle to pass this bill, along with dealing with whatever mischief the gun haters throw at us. So we may as well get started.

Please contact Peter Courtney and demand that a hearing and work session be held on the CHL privacy bill with no games and no “gut and stuffs.” It has become a regular practice in the legislature to hold a “public hearing” on a bill and take testimony from Oregonians. Then, after people have had an opportunity to express their opinion, the bill is completely changed in the “work session,” but the public is not allowed to testify on the changed bill, making the entire process a scam. We need to put an end to these efforts to prevent public input.

Please contact Senate President Peter Courtney by phone or email and request a fair and honest hearing on the bill. Contact info and a sample cut-and-paste email message follow.

Senator Peter Courtney
Capitol Address:
900 Court St. NE, S-201
Salem, OR 97301
Capitol Phone:
503-986-1600
FAX:
503-986-1004
email sen.petercourtney@state.or.us

You can find your own Senator using this link. He will be the fourth person listed, under “State Senator.”

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Dear Senator Courtney,

I was appalled at the games that were played in the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2011. I hope you will not allow this to happen in 2012.

The Oregon legislature will almost certainly be seeing a bill this session to protect the privacy of concealed handgun license holders. As you well know, the holders of these licenses are the most law-abiding members of our society. The information demanded of them, and available to anyone as “public record,” is not information about government activity, which should, of course, be public. It is very sensitive private data demanded by the state in order to exercise what should be a right.

It is long past time that this information be protected from the prying eyes of those who seek to harass gun owners. Your website says “I encourage you to participate in the legislative process.” Please prove it by making sure honest hearings and work sessions are held on this important bill with no poison pills and no “gut and stuffs.”

Sincerely,

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