Late yesterday the 2019 Oregon Legislature adjourned.
It was without question the ugliest, most contentious session in our lifetime. With a solid majority the Democrats chose slash and burn policies with no consultation with the minority party. The far left was determined to ram through a radical agenda on a host of issues and Senate President Peter Courtney, who in the past had been a moderating influence, was completely neutered.
SB 978 was the most far reaching, vindictive attack on gun rights in Oregon history and would have made Oregon one of the most anti-gun states in the country. The Senate Democrats had the votes to pass anything they wanted, and they wanted to crush and punish law abiding gun owners.
Among its provisions were new restrictions on concealed handgun licenses, rendering them almost useless, outlawing countless conventional firearms, and rules that would hold you strictly liable for any crime committed with a gun that was stolen from you, even if you were abiding by new regulations that required that every gun you own be locked up.
Of course, while you would be responsible for guns that were stolen from you, there was not a single word in the bill that addressed the criminals who steal guns. The Oregon Democrats hatefest against gun owners was an amazing thing to witness.
Having absolutely no say in anything, the Senate Republicans walked out, twice. We had asked the Senate Republic leader to take this highly unusual action because without the Republicans on the floor, the Senate could not conduct business. The day before the first walkout, Senate Republican leader Herman Baertschiger contacted us and told us they were leaving. There was nothing else they could do.
As you no doubt know, this put all of them at risk of arrest by the Oregon State Police, so they had to leave the state.
After they left a deal was struck to get them to return. Part of the deal was the death of SB 978. Gun owners owe Senator Baertschiger and the Senate Republicans a debt of gratitude .
But, soon after, it was clear that the Democrats were going to renege on other parts of the deal and ram through legislation they had promised Republicans they would have an opportunity to influence. So once again, with no choice, the Republicans walked out.
The Senate President and the Governor vowed to have the State Police hunt them down and force them back to the Capitol. That’s when the real drama began.
Republican Senator Brian Boquist, the main promoter of SB 719, told the Senate President that if the if he sent the State Police after him, that “hell would come after you.”
He later told reporters that if the police came to arrest him they should “send bachelors and come heavily armed.” It was an unprecedented moment in Oregon politics.
The great irony is that SB 719 is the bill that allows the police to come and seize your firearms with no due process if the courts agree that you are a “danger to yourself or others.” So Boquist could very well become a victim of the truly dangerous legislation he was responsible for.
During the second walkout we were in regular contact with Republican Senators who kept us appraised of their plans. Late Thursday night we got a call saying that there was no benefit to remaining gone, that if they stayed out past the deadline to end the session the Governor could call for an endless stream of “special” sessions and there was no doubt that vindictive Democrats would pass catastrophic gun control amongst many other damaging bills.
But gun owners were not the only people who felt the tyrannical behavior of the majority was crushing them. Many people who had never been political before showed up at the Capitol to express their anger and frustration.
In the end, tempers flared, threats were exchanged, Oregon again made international headlines for all the wrong reasons, and the Democrats vowed to come back and pass everything they failed to because of the activism of people like you and the willingness of the Senate Republicans to take a truly courageous stand. We are grateful.
When we entered this session we fully expected to face the worst anti-gun legislation in our history. And we did. But because of you and your relentless action, the worst did not come to pass. So, for a few months (we hope) your gun rights are safe. But the Democrats are furious and have made no secret of the fact that they are not finished. Having been defeated in their attempts to eliminate your rights this session, they will be coming back with a vengeance in February and we’ll need you more than ever.
These battles get more expensive every year, and now, of course, we are facing billionaire gun grabbers. We would be very grateful if you would consider any donation you can afford to keep us working for you.
You can make a secure online donation here.
If you prefer to use PayPal you can use this link.
Thanks again for all you have done.