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The first “regular” February session has not yet started, but the gun bills have already been introduced.

These sessions were sold to Oregonians as a way to deal with an ever more complex budget, but as you might have expected, Senator Ginny Burdick will be using the session to,once again,try to ban guns on school property. But this time she has broadened her targets. Now she wants to ban licensed concealed carry in all public buildings.

SB 1550 bans CHL carry on school grounds including colleges.

SB 1551 bans CHL carry in all public buildings.

As always, there have been no incidents to justify these restrictions, but this is Burdick’s life work, so who cares about the economy?

A “reciprocity” bill has been introduced by, of all people, Floyd Prozanski.  You will recall that in 2011 Floyd torpedoed every positive gun bill or amended them so they were unrecognizable. In 2011, Floyd took a bill that was intended to clarify lawful transport of firearms on motorcycles, snowmobiles and ATV’s and turned it into a bill to ban firearms on school property. That bill died after he passed it out of his committee.

Now Floyd, is back with a so called “reciprocity” bill. This bill was the result of private “work groups” Floyd held over the interim where no public input was allowed. Floyd has taken a lot of heat for his attacks on gun owners. Is this his attempt to buy them off?   It’s a peculiar bill.

SB 1574  “Directs Department of State Police to identify states that recognize Oregon concealed handgun licenses and that impose eligibility requirements for issuing concealed handgun licenses that are substantially similar to Oregon requirements.
Provides nonresidents who are licensed to carry concealed handgun in state identified by Department of State Police with defenses provided to persons with Oregon concealed handgun license. Prohibits arrest of nonresidents who possess valid concealed handgun license issued in state whose license is verifiable through use of national law enforcement data system.”

It will be interesting to see where this goes. At one time in the past, the Oregon State Police had this exact authority. They could recognize a license from any state that had “substantially similar requirements” to Oregon’s.  They recognized exactly …none. We are wondering what has changed. We also wonder what the State Police will claim it will cost to make these determinations. As you know, Oregon is not exactly awash in extra cash.

Obviously we think Oregon should simply recognize every state’s permits or not require permits at at all. This has worked out just fine in Vermont, Alaska, Wyoming and Arizona.But here is a simple solution that for some reason, legislators refuse to consider. Since the anti-gun zealots have constantly stated that we cannot recognize other states’ licenses because they don’t meet our lofty standards, why not simply allow any person from any state to apply for our license?

Then, if the State Police for some reason find a state that does not have the extremely rigid and demanding requirements that Oregon has, a resident of that state could still get an Oregon permit and come to Oregon and spend money. (After having spent money to get the permit.)

We have been reliably informed that Prozanski has stated he will not even consider the idea.  We think we should work to change his mind.

If this bill goes anywhere (and since Prozanski is chair of the committee that will hear it, it probably will) we will hand deliver, to the Republican members of the committee, (Senate Judiciary) a request that they introduce an amendment to do just that. Then let the gun haters explain why even this is unacceptable.

Speaking of the Senate Judiciary Committee, with anti-gun Senator Suzanne Bonamici gone in search of a US House seat, the Committee was short one anti-gun member. So Senate President Peter Courtney replaced her with …Peter Courtney. This is not good news. No friend of gun owners, Courtney, as  Senate President, presided over all the shenanigans and game playing that went on in that committee in 2011. In the rushed February 2012 session, gun owners should be watching the Senate Judiciary Committee very carefully.

There is one other Senate Bill that, although not gun related, will be important to anyone who is concerned about the actions of our legislature. This is SB 1572.

Introduced by Senator Alan Olsen, this bill requires that amendments (which are getting harder and harder for the public to see) list the name of the person or committee that requested them. In an environment where playing “hide the ball” is becoming more and more standard operating procedure, this is an important step that we applaud.

Two gun bills have also been introduced in the House.

Pro-gun hero Representative Kim Thatcher has once again introduced a bill to protect the privacy of concealed handgun license holders. We told you about this bill in a previous alert. It is HB 4045 and as always, Kim deserves our gratitude and help.

The other bill is HB 4054 which prohibits Public Employees’ Benefit Board from authorizing or requiring collection of information or maintenance of records about firearms from eligible employee or family member.

By the way, you may have heard that anti-gun groups plan to boycott Starbucks starting on Valentine’s Day to protest their policy of obeying local gun laws. You may want to consider stopping in for a cup that day.

A list of 2012 gun bills will be available and updated if necessary here.

The session starts on February 1. We will keep you informed.