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05.09.09 STILL TIME TO SAVE CHL PRIVACY BILL

CHL PRIVACY BILL GETS SECOND CHANCE

As you know, HB 2727, a bill to protect the privacy of CHL holders, was eviscerated in the House Judiciary Committee by Judy Steigler and passed the full House in its severely amended and almost useless form.

The bill Kim Thatcher worked so hard to pass in order to provide real protections, now provides virtually none. The new bill is so bad that the “Newberg Graphic” calls it “a step in the right direction.”

To get an idea why the Newberg Graphic would applaud this now worthless bill, look at what else they had to say in a recent editorial.  “This newspaper, and many others, have accessed information on CHL holders in order to report, for instance, that teachers with CHL permits are carrying handguns in schools.”

Of course it is absurd to conclude that simply because a person has a permit they are “carrying in school” (although they have every right to do so) but this is the exact kind of abuse we need to address.  The Graphic goes on to say  “That’s information that parents of students should have access to in order to decide if that particular school district needs to change its policies in order to protect its students.” Here, the Graphic displays astonishing ignorance about how Oregon gun laws are enforced, but more so reveals that some organizations clearly want access to this information simply to harass gun owners.

The position that the paper takes, that they need access to these private records to determine if the government is working in the “public’s best interest,” is an obvious sham and a demonstration of why we must do all we can to keep these records private.

CHL holders are not government agencies that require public oversight. CHL holders get licenses because the state demands that they request permission to exercise a right, something not required of residents of states like Alaska and Vermont. As such, the information on your license and application should be as private as your medical records and your tax returns.

But now, thanks to House Democrats, and several Republican Committee members who capitulated on the amendment vote, HB 2727 has morphed into 2727A, a useless piece of window dressing which fixes nothing.

But the story is not over. Before the bill can become law, it must pass the Senate Judiciary Committee and the full Senate. The Chairman of the Senate Committee is Floyd Prozanski.

As chairman he has tremendous control over how this bill proceeds. His committee has the power to amend the bill to return the safeguards that the original bill provided. Prozanski was also a cosponsor of the original bill.

As a cosponsor of the clean bill, Prozanzki knows the importance of real protections for CHL holders, something the amended bill simply does NOT provide.

Because your private, personal information is at stake and available to gun hating organizations like the Newberg Graphic and the Medford Mail Tribune, it is essential that we do all we can to make sure a bill is passed that actually provides the protections that the original bill included.

Please contact Senator Prozanski by e-mail and phone and urge him not to waste time with HB2727 A in its current form. Please consider sending a copy of your e-mail to the entire committee.

Please tell him that the bill provides nothing but window dressing when what we need is real privacy. Sample message follows:

Senator Floyd Prozanski
sen.floydprozanski@state.or.us
900 Court St. NE, S-417, Salem, OR, 97301
503-986 -1704

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Dear Senator Prozanski,

As an original sponsor of HB 2727, you clearly understand the importance of the protections provided under that bill to holders of concealed handgun licenses.  As an attorney and prosecutor, you also understand how little the amended bill provides in terms of these protections.

HB 2727 A is a pointless exercise in political posturing. Without real safeguards license holders will have been sold a bill of goods by the legislature.  Even now, newspapers like the Newberg Graphic are celebrating the bill as passed because it will allow them to expose the identity of teachers with CHL’s. (See their May 7th editorial.)

When HB 2727 A arrives in your committee, I urge you in the strongest terms to seek and allow, amendments to make the bill actually do something for license holders. WIthout real safeguards, the bill is not worth your time to hear.

Yours,

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