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03.23.07 Dangerous Port Bill Moving Forward. Please Act Immediately.

Today the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on HB 2852.

As we told you in a previous alert, this bill expands the power of the Port of Portland Police.

Today it was amended to expand it even more.

This is a very dangerous bill for gun owners. Why? Because the Port, and its police, have an illegal policy banning concealed handgun license holders from the Portland Airport terminal.

For the whole gruesome story, see this link.

Concealed handgun license holders are specifically allowed in the public areas of the Portland Airport terminal anywhere outside the TSA security checkpoint. In fact, in spite of what many agencies say, they are allowed in ALL public buildings except courts.

The Port of Portland knows their policy is illegal and made no attempt to defend it in the hearing today. They simply stated that this bill has “nothing to do with guns.” But it certainly does.

The Port and its police are breaking the law, plain and simple. They are using their authority to intimidate gun owners in violation of Oregon’s preemption statute, and now they want to be rewarded by having their power expanded! This is even more dangerous than it seems.

As you may know, we have been making some progress in getting Oregon government agencies to reverse illegal gun policies, (Department of Administrative Services, Deschutes County Commission.) But there are dozens, perhaps hundreds, of agencies and departments that may have illegal anti-gun rules and policies. (The Bend Police Department for example.) That’s why it is SO important that the Port of Portland is NOT rewarded for breaking the law and violating the rights of Oregon gun owners. You can imagine the message that this bill would send to law breaking government agencies across the state.

No “work session” was held on the bill today. That’s the good news. The bad news is the chairman of the committee, Greg MacPherson, seems determined to pass it. Your action now is imperative. If this bill passes, you can bet that agencies that would have complied with the law if pressured, will thumb their noses at the statutes, knowing the legislature will do nothing.

The sponsor of the bill is Jeff Barker. Barker is a Democrat who has supported gun rights in the past. In fact, he has contacted us numerous times to remind us that he is solidly behind gun rights. But this bill is a clear attack on gun owners. After today’s hearing, where we provided the committee with extensive documentation that the Port is breaking the law, no member of the committee (including Barker) can claim they are unaware of the problem.

Please contact Jeff Barker and urge him to reconsider his support for this bill. Remind him that this bill, if passed, would send a very dangerous message. A message that encourages government agencies to violate the law, a message that gun rights are being trampled while the legislature turns a blind eye and a message that clearly written statutes only apply to gun owners and not government bureaucrats.

Barker’s contact information and a sample message follow.

Representative Jeff Barker
rep.jeffbarker@state.or.us
900 Court St. NE, H-476
Salem, OR 97301
Session Phone:
503-986-1428
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Dear Representative Barker,

While I appreciate your support for gun owners’ rights in the past, HB 2852 is a dangerous step backward.

You are aware that the Port of Portland operates under an ordinance that is contrary to Oregon’s preemption statute and is unlawful.

Whatever your goals were with this bill, I can assure you that it will encourage more state and local agencies to ignore the laws that you in the legislature created.

I strongly urge you not to reward the Port for breaking the law and violating gun owners’ rights. Please reconsider your support for this bill until the Port is in compliance with the law.

Very truly yours,
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