In the 2014 legislative session, Oregon Firearms worked with representatives of the Oregon corrections officers to craft a bill that would allow them to transport their personal firearms to and from work.
The Department of Corrections forbade the men and women who worked in prisons from having any protection while commuting to their jobs. This led to some unfortunate outcomes, like, well.. death and stuff.
An early version of a bill to fix this was so poorly drafted that House Rep Jeff Barker, the chair of the Judiciary Committee and one of the sponsors of the bill, asked us to help repair it. The final version of HB 4035 left a lot to be desired as far as we were concerned. The biggest problem was that it only applied to contracts “entered into or renewed” after the bill went into effect which was 91 days after the 2014 legislature adjourned. At the time of the passing of the bill, some CO’s were already under contract and some had no contract and so none of those people were covered by the bill. We would have preferred that the bill apply to all CO’s immediately. But the unions reps were ok with it, so that’s what was passed.
From the outset, the bosses at the Department of Corrections made it clear that they opposed the bill. They would rather lose officers than deal with their perceived “liability” of allowing trained law enforcement to be armed while on long commutes in rural, sparsely populated areas. And it seems they may have gotten the last laugh, at least for now.
As you can see, the bill allowed corrections officers to “possess firearms in the officers’ personal vehicles”. But dopes that we were, we never included in the bill that they be allowed to have ammo.
In a rule certified by Rules Coordinator Birdie Worley and approved by Administrator Elizabeth Craig, corrections officers are now allowed to possess firearms under the very limited circumstances defined in the rule, but may only possess “that amount of ammunition that the personal firearm is designed to hold.” Spare ammo or magazines are not allowed. (See page three of the rule.)
We’re pretty sure this is NOT what the bill sponsors had in mind. But this is what happens when you make the laws and let others make the rules.
Still, there’s a work around for everything isn’t there?