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04.27.09 OFF BILL PASSED BY COMMITTEE

A bill requested by OFF and pushed for by OFF supporters passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee today.

The bill was intended to define the term “not readily accessible” for the purpose of having a handgun in your car.

Current law allows a person (without a concealed handgun license) to have a loaded handgun in his car under two circumstances:

A) The handgun must either be carried openly, or

B) it must be “not readily accessible.”

(Keep in mind, as a result of a recent court decision, non-licensees can be further restricted if they are in a location like Portland or Oregon City that has prohibitions against open carry.)

The problem with existing law, as you know, is that the statute does not define what “not readily accessible” means.

For example, where would “not readily accessible” be in a Mini Cooper, a pickup truck, or a “smart car” which has no location not within reach of the passengers?

Because the law left gun owners at the mercy of any court that wanted to create their own definition, we requested that a firm and understandable definition be written into the law.

Because of your activism, we not only have a definition, but the bill also contains corrections in Oregon law that we have been seeking and you have been demanding.

As passed out of committee, not only does SB 603 provide a clear definition of the term “readily accessible” it also corrects Oregon law in two important areas that were clearly legislative mistakes. And none of this would have happened without your continued efforts. (If you are looking up the bill online, please keep in mind that the original posted on the legislative website is NOT the bill passed out of committee today.)

Current Oregon law says that a person with a felony conviction can ask the court to have his rights restored to BUY a firearm, but he may not OWN it! SB 603 corrects this error.

Current Oregon law says that a person with only one felony conviction, not involving a homicide or a weapons charge, automatically gets his firearms rights restored after 15 years. But ONLY to be free from being charged with “felon in possession.”  That person still faces the possibility of being charged with MISDEMEANOR unlawful possession. SB 603 corrects this error as well.

The bill now goes to the full  Senate. We suggest you contact your own State Senator and urge him to vote in favor of SB 603.  The bill will then have to go to the  House Judiciary Committee and the full House for a vote. We will keep you appraised of its progress. If you need to find your State Senator, please use this link. Your STATE senator will be the 4th name listed.

That is the good news.

The bad news is that HB 2463 a bill which would have recognized other states’ concealed handgun licenses has been twisted by some committee Democrats into an unrecognizable shadow of its original intent.  As modified by members of the committee, the bill would be useless window dressing. We believe the bill is almost certainly dead, guaranteeing that we will NOT have the benefits of more states recognizing our CHL’s that we would have under the original bill. We believe the Chairman of the Committee, Representative Jeff Barker made a good faith effort to move this bill, but was thwarted by other members of his party.

In the unlikely event that this bill moves, it will almost certainly serve no purpose for gun owners.

In addition, House Bill 2853 is scheduled for another “work session” tomorrow. This bill has also been altered so dramatically that the original language is completely gone. As amended, this horrible bill would force Oregon to comply with the NRA-sponsored federal bill HR 2640, that requires that the medical  mental health records of thousands of Oregonians be turned over to the anti-gun, Obama administration run, “National Instant Check System”  a vast federal database that regularly denies gun purchases to people with no disqualifying incidents. This is a very dangerous bill.  We think this will be moved to another committee and if it is we will ask that you contact that committee and urge that it be voted down.

Stay tuned. We’ll keep you informed.