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02.08.10 SB 1008 MOVES OUT OF COMMITTEE. NO ONE UNDERSTANDS IT.

SB 1008 Moves Out Of Committee

Senate Bill 1008 moved out of the Senate Judiciary Committee today with both Republican Senators objecting.

As you know, SB 1008 is a 43 page bill, not counting amendments, that reverses SB 603 which took effect in January.

SB 603 originally dealt with creating a legal definition for the term “readily accessible” for the purposes of transporting handguns in vehicles.

Senator Floyd Prozanski added language to it that would correct the strange anomaly in Oregon law that allowed persons with felony convictions to petition the courts for the right to purchase a firearm, but still did not allow them to own it.

This was, we felt, a commonsense correction to an obvious error.

But now, as you know, Prozanski has reversed his position and is claiming he never wanted felons to be able to request rights restoration until at least 15 years had passed since they left parole or probation.

This element was never part of the bill, was never discussed and there were no objections to SB 603 which passed both Houses and was signed by the Governor. Prozanski has claimed that he and the House Judiciary Chairman knew there was something “wrong” with the bill before the Governor signed it.  He has not explained why no one asked the Governor to veto it.

It has become very clear that legislators are very confused by SB 1008. Some think it does the very thing it is overturning. But the same people who voted “yes” on SB 603, (a four page bill) and are now saying they didn’t understand it, are pushing for a 43 page “correction” that even its drafter admits is very confusing.

We believe if there are problems with the current law, that now, in a brief “special” session, is not the time to reverse a bill that passed without a single “no”  vote.  There is simply too much confusion, and there are no facts to indicate that the law, as amended by SB 603, is causing any problems at all. We doubt that the people who are now claiming to have misunderstood a four page bill can possibly understand a 43 page “fix” for a problem that may not exist.

Unfortunately, this is an election year and politicians are making decisions based on how things will play out in the media. Many legislators are afraid that if they oppose SB 1008, their challengers will claim that they want to hand out guns to felons. But everyone on both sides of the aisle voted in favor of the bill which some now seek to overturn.

SB 1008 is, frankly, a mess.  We recommend that you urge your Senator to wait until the full regular session before making a major reversal to a bill they all supported.  You can find your State Senator here.   He or she will be the second-to-last person listed.Or you can use this link to have your message sent directly to your own State Senator, even if you don’t know who he is.

If you use this link, be sure to check the box marked “State Senate.”

A sample message follows:

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Dear Senator,

SB 1008 is a large, complicated and confusing “fix” for a problem that may not exist.

Prior to January and the implementation of SB 603, a person who had a felony conviction could petition the courts to have his rights restored to purchase a firearm, but he still could NOT OWN IT!.

SB 603 fixed that error. Now after less than two months in effect, you are being asked to reverse SB 603, which passed without a single “no” vote in either house, and replace it with SB 1008

I strongly urge you not to reverse your position on the current law and wait instead, until the full regular session where any problems that may exist with the current law can be discussed and fully understood. The “special” session is not the time to make a major policy change on an area of law that is so misunderstood.

Yours,

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(Going to be in the Roseburg area this weekend? Come and visit our table at the Roseburg Rod & Gun Club Gun & Knife Show. Roseburg, OR.
Douglas County Fairgrounds 2110 SW Frear Street, Roseburg, OR)