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Today the House Judiciary Committee passed SB 603 out of committee.

They included amendments that make the bill a strong, positive step for gun owners who live in, or visit Oregon.

SB 603 was originally drafted, at our request, to legally define the term “readily accessible” for the purposes of transporting a concealed handgun in a car.

Although Oregon CHL holders may transport a handgun however they please in a vehicle, the same is not true for those without licenses, or visitors to our state.

For those people, handguns must be either not concealed, or “not readily accessible.”  But what does that mean? It is not defined in Oregon law. Where is a handgun “not readily accessible” in a Mini-Cooper?

For that reason we requested that the term be legally defined.

Because of your constant efforts, not only was the bill given a hearing, it was amended to fix problems we attempted to address in other bills, it passed the Senate without a single “no” vote and has now passed the House Committee unanimously. It now goes on to the full House where we expect it to pass.

The bill gives a clear definition of what “readily accessible” means. The new definition is:

If a vehicle has no storage location that is outside the passenger compartment of the vehicle, a handgun is not readily accessible within the meaning of this section if:
A) The handgun is stored in a closed and locked glove compartment, center console or other container and
B) The key is not inserted into the lock, if the glove compartment, center console or other container unlocks with a key.

We believe that having a clear definition of this term is a great benefit to gun owners traveling in Oregon. Please note, this new law does not affect open carry or persons with CHL’s, in any way.

But the amended bill does more.

As we have told you, Oregon law contains some obvious errors that needed to be addressed. We had hope to fix them in other bills, but the solutions were incorporated into this one bill.

In addition to defining “readily accessible” the bill also fixes a mistake in Oregon law that allows a person with a felony conviction to petition the courts to have their rights restored to buy a gun, but does not allow them to own a gun.  Furthermore, it addresses an error in Oregon law that appears to return firearms rights to a person with a single felony conviction,( not involving a homicide or weapons charge,) after 15 years, but in fact still left that person open to a misdemeanor firearm’s possession charge.

This is a good bill and we look forward to its passage.

On another note, HB 2727A, the CHL “privacy” bill, finally passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee today with more amendments.

As you know, the bill, which was intended to insure that CHL holder’s private information was not available to the Oregonian or the Medford Mail Tribune, was completely neutered by House Rep Judy Stiegler. In its current form, it provides virtually no protections for CHL holders at all.

The amendments added today also do nothing for license holders, they simply clarify the procedure for those who want access to these records.  The bill now serves even less of a purpose than it had after Stiegler gutted it.

Interestingly, the Senate Judiciary Committee, which heard the gutted bill today, could have just voted to send it to the Senate floor. But instead they voted to send it to the Senate Rules Committee. One of the  5 members of that committee is Ginny Burdick who has built her entire political career on attacking gun rights.

Burdick’s star has been shining more and more dimly in the last few years and her inability to pass a single piece of anti-gun legislation has certainly weighed heavily on her. This move may be her last-gasp chance to claim credit for killing a “pro-gun” bill.   The irony is, this bill is anything but “pro-gun” and is nothing more than a political game to allow politicians to take credit for having done …nothing.

House Rep. Kim Thatcher wrote a solid, simple pro-gun bill. That bill was eviscerated by Judy Stiegler (who meddled with and destroyed other good pro-gun bills) and other politicians went along for the ride. If Burdick wants to shoot down HB 2727 A, we welcome her efforts, but if she thinks she has, in any way, set back gun rights, well as  we have said before, “what makes you think we read the bills?”