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04.15.11 SENATE BILL UPDATE

Today is the day Americans usually get to feel good about America by making their patriotic utions to our friends at the Internal Revenue Service. This year we get a few more days to bask in that patriotic glow while writing checks to fund the activities of the Obama Administration.

Three senate bills were scheduled for action yesterday in the Senate Judiciary Committee. They were SB 934, SB 762 and SB 582.

In order, the bills did the following:

SB 934   Removes Department of State Police as designated state point of contact for purposes of National Instant Criminal Background Check System. Requires gun dealer to obtain authorization to transfer firearm directly from system.

Sends background checks back to the Feds.

SB 762  Allows persons convicted of felony to petition for restoration of firearm rights not sooner than 10 years after date of conviction or date person completes sentence, whichever is later.

Reverses the gains we made in 2009 and greatly restricts the ability of people to petition for firearms rights restoration.

SB 582
Prohibits public body from releasing information that identifies holder of or applicant for concealed handgun license.

CHL privacy bill much like the one that has already passed in the House.

We support 934 and 582 and oppose 762.

You may recall that SB 582 received a hearing and was then scheduled for a work session. The day of the scheduled work session we were informed that the bill would not, in fact, receive consideration and was dead. Then it was resurrected with another scheduled work session yesterday.  Once again however, no action was taken on it.

Similarly, no action was taken on SB 762, an anti-gun bill and the source of a lot of confusion.

We have been told that bill will not move forward. We have also been told that SB 582, the privacy bill, will not move forward. But nothing is ever as simple as it sounds.

Testimony was taken on SB 934 but that may very well have been no more than a formality.

The work session for that bill is scheduled for next Monday, and it could very well be “worked” into something unrecognizable. We believe that bill will be used as a vehicle to be amended to include many other concepts than simply ending OSP background checks for dealer sales. It is possible that it won’t even contain that language.

Language from the two bills not dealt with yesterday could be incorporated as could almost anything else, even, for example, a ban on guns on school property. Since the public is not allowed to see the proposed amendments we will have to wait until Monday to update you on what this bill will become. Lately, even people in the hearing room often don’t get to see the proposed amendments and we sometimes don’t know what they are until after they have been adopted. This is part of the legislature’s brilliant new “paperless” policy. The effect of this policy is to keep the public, and often many legislators, in the dark about what is happening to bills.

It is our expectation that CHL privacy will be used as a bargaining chip to get some anti-gun language into a bill. We will, of course, oppose any efforts to water down gun rights.

The House version of SB 934 (the background check bill) is HB 2791 and that bill is scheduled for a hearing next Tuesday in the House Judiciary Committee. We believe we have the votes to get that bill out of committee, but it never hurts to contact the members and voice your support.

During testimony yesterday on SB 934, “Ceasefire Oregon” testified that the huge spike in delays and the trouble dealers are having getting through to the OSP are proof that the system is working. We look forward to more comical testimony on the house bill.

The key to all these bills is still Senator Floyd Prozanski, the Chair of Senate Judiciary. He controls the background check bill, the privacy bill, the recognition bill and the motorcycle /atv bill. Please continue to remind him that gun rights matter to you.

We’ll keep you posted.