This legislative session has seen a large number of firearms-related bills, both good and bad. But it’s no trick to get bills introduced; the typical session may see 4000 of them. The real challenge is to get any of them to go anywhere.
As of now several bills are scheduled for action in their house of origin, in this case the Oregon House. Keep in mind, this is just one of many steps on the long road to a bill becoming a law.
Three gun bills are scheduled for action on March 8th in the House Judiciary Committee. Two of those bills, HB 2792 and HB 2787, have already received hearings and are scheduled for “work sessions” where bills are amended and adopted. A third bill will receive its first public hearing. That is HB 2797.
To recap, HB 2792 recognizes other states’ concealed handgun licenses.
HB 2787 protects the privacy of concealed handgun license holders.
HB 2797 addresses the problem with Oregon law that forbids anyone to carry a loaded firearm on a snowmobile or ATV (but does not even define what “loaded” means) and also corrects the flaw in Oregon Statute that allows no practical, legal way to transport a handgun on a motorcycle unless the rider has a CHL. This is one of several bills dealing with carry on ATVs but the only one that deals with the motorcycle problem. OFF requested this bill after a Senate bill in 2009 inadvertently dropped the motorcycle language. We ask that you contact the committee and request that they support all three bills.
Also scheduled for that meeting is HB 3100, a bill which modifies the jurisdiction of the “Psychiatric Security Review Board.” While this is not a “gun bill”, we are paying close attention to this body since now, thanks to the NRA, it has a lot of control over gun owners and it has shown no interest in protecting gun owners’ rights.
There is a strong likelihood that the three gun bills will pass out of committee, although HB 2797 will not likely be acted on on the 8th. But anything can happen and there is always the potential for damaging amendments or other problems. So we are asking that you contact the committee urging support for all three bills.
That being said it is important to note that committee schedules can change at any time, right up until the very last minute. If you plan to attend the hearing, make sure you double-check that there have been no scheduling changes.
It’s safe to say that the two members of the Judiciary Committee least likely to support gun rights are Carolyn Tomei and Mary Nolan. But, if the committee does pass any or all of these bills, the measures will then have to pass the full House. If we prevail there, the whole process starts again in the Senate Judiciary Committee whose Chairman, Floyd Prozanski, is not at all friendly to gun rights. We fully expect a battle to get any of these bills heard in his committee.
While we are making progress, we still have a lot of work to do. There are other bills in the House that have NOT been scheduled for a hearing and they only will be if you let the co-chairs of House Judiciary know they are important. These bills should not be seen as controversial, but they could easily become bargaining chips if we don’t make our voices heard. A brief review of them follows:
HB 2791 Removes Department of State Police as designated state point of contact for purposes of National Instant Criminal Background Check System.
There is a companion bill for this in the Senate, SB 934.
Recently, the OSP has greatly increased the time it takes to conduct a standard background check with dealers often waiting over an hour to get through to the ID unit. You can imagine the strain this puts on business and it’s even worse at gun shows. Furthermore, a problem we thought we had solved in the past has come back with a vengeance. The incidence of complaints about unjustified delays on approvals has shot back up after having come down significantly. That’s why we want the State Police out of the background check business. That and their stated intention to TRIPLE their fees. (Slow downs, price increases…coincidence? You decide.)
HB 2793 Modifies definition of public place for purpose of certain city or county ordinances related to possession of loaded firearms.
In 2008 the Oregon Appeals Court turned our “preemption statue” on its ear by concluding that your car must be treated like a “public place.” Thus all the protections gun owners thought they had while traveling from place to place were gone and you could easily find yourself breaking some local code or rule because you drove into a locality with its own gun restrictions. Localities may only restrict guns in “public places” but who thinks their car is one? This important bill would reverse this problem and once again protect traveling gun owners.
HB 2789 Authorizes issuance of concealed handgun license to person convicted or diverted for certain marijuana offenses in another jurisdiction if conviction or diversion is equivalent to conviction or diversion that does not operate as bar to obtaining license under Oregon law.
Oregon law allows a person with ONE conviction or ONE diversion for a small amount of marijuana to apply for a concealed handgun license. But, that conviction or diversion MUST have been in Oregon and MUST have been AFTER 1973. So a person with a minor out-of-state conviction or someone whose incident was almost 40 years old is locked out. We think this is an oversight and not fair. HB 2789 would correct that problem.
There are numerous other gun-related bills in the hopper, but we think these should generate the least controversy and should not be held hostage to the process. But they will only move forward with your help.
We’ve included two sample messages below. One is to the entire House Judiciary Committee asking for speedy action, on the bills being dealt with on March 8th. The second is to the Committee Chairs, asking for hearings on the three important bills described above. Please feel free to modify them to suit your style, and thanks for your continued activism.
Your committee will soon be dealing with House Bills 2787, 2792 and 2797. These bills safeguard the rights of law-abiding firearms owners.
They are commonsense bills that deserve your vote. I urge quick passage and your support for them on the House floor.
Dear Mr. Co-Chair.
Thank you for your continued advocacy for gun owners in Oregon. I request that you consider hearings on House Bills 2791, 2793 and 2789. These bills are not controversial and will further protect the rights of firearms owners in the state.
Thank you for your consideration