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04.09.11 PACE PICKS UP. MORE GUN BILLS MOVING.

THE PACE PICKS UP

As we told you previously, a number of gun bills have been unexpectedly scheduled for action in the Senate and House.

The Senate bills have all been scheduled for April 14th.

All of these dates are subject to change with little or no notice. Given the number of bills scheduled for the Senate Judiciary Committee on the 14th, it is very possible that some will be held over.

The Senate bills are  SB 762, SB 582 and SB 934.

SB 762 is the only bill we oppose at this point, although any of these bills could be amended into something never intended by their sponsors.

What SB 762 does is reverse the gains you worked so hard to achieve in 2009.

Prior to the passage of Senate Bill 603 in 2009, a person with a felony conviction could petition the court to have his rights restored to buy a gun, but even if successful, he could not own that gun.

We believed that was absurd, and so SB 603 was drafted to simply say if the courts felt that a person had demonstrated that he deserved to have his rights restored to buy a gun he could also own it. The bill passed without a single “no” vote in either house and was signed by the governor. Since then many people have gone to court and sought restoration of rights.

Some have been successful, some have not. All in all, we believe the legislation worked exactly as it should have. We know of not a single instance where a person has had rights restoration and a problem followed. Given how easy it is to run afoul of the countless laws in this country, we believe the current law is fair and makes sense.

But almost as soon as it passed, Senator Prozanski, who actually drafted the final version of Senate Bill 603, decided that it was a terrible mistake and tried to reverse it. In the special session in 2010, Prozanski introduced legislation to eliminate the gains we made in SB 603. Because of your tireless efforts, he was unsuccessful and his bill, after passing in the Senate, was amended into positive legislation in the House. Now Senate Bill 762 is another attempt to undo what your hard work accomplished in 2009, with no evidence that anyone has abused the current process.

It makes little sense to think that a person who had criminal intent would actually go to a court to ask for rights restoration, and in fact, the vast majority of people who have sought relief under the current statute are people who made one mistake early in life and are only seeking to do the right thing now. SB 762 would end that avenue until 10 years had passed since the conviction. SB 762 is clearly a solution in search of a problem.

The other two bills scheduled for April 14 in Senate Judiciary are SB 582 and SB 934.

582 is the Senate version of the CHL privacy bill. We have already told you much about this bill in previous alerts.  The bill is scheduled for a “work session” which, as we have said, is odd, since the Chairman has already made it clear he does not intend to move the bill. While we would be very pleased if Chair Prozanski actually moves the bill out of his committee, we are concerned that this may be just a procedural parlor game.

The last bill scheduled is SB 934. This bill would address the recent problems faced by gun buyers and gun dealers when attempting background checks through the Oregon State Police. For months, dealers and buyers have been facing long waits to get through to OSP and the number of delays after the background checks have gone up significantly.  SB 934 would turn background checks by licensed dealers over to the NICS system, which by the way, does not charge a fee. This is especially important at a time when the OSP are attempting to raise the check fee from $10.00 to $26.00. We first requested this legislation in 2009.

House Bill 2791 does the same thing. It is the House version of SB 934.  This bill is scheduled to be heard in the House Judiciary Committee on April 19th.

If you are a dealer or a gun buyer who has experienced unwarranted delays when attempting a transfer, we encourage you to consider attending the hearings and testifying about your experiences.

The Senate Hearing will be at 8:30 am  8 am on April 14 at the Capitol, room 343.  The House hearing will be April 19th at 1 pm in the same room.

Schedules change, so please check to be sure the bills are still scheduled before you come.  You can check committee schedules here for the latest information.