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Decoding SB 554.


“Drazan said representatives like her, who stayed to vote no against the bill, are not the enemy. She repudiated deceptive language used by activist groups. She said their information is misleading and “buys into the aggressive swarm mentality. Cancel culture with full abandon.”

For more on “deceptive language” read on.

We are at the turning point. The Oregon Legislature is passing extreme attacks on your rights and safety. The Republicans are saying that it’s no big deal because the “people” can always pay many thousands of dollars to refer anti-gun bills to the voters. At the same time, anti-gun organizations are (once again) planning ballot measures that will require many thousands of dollars to challenge. None of the Republicans who accepted donations from gun owners have offered to return any of that money to fund the efforts to reverse anti gun bills or stop new gun control ballot measures.

As you know, SB 554 has passed the House. In exchange for their caving to the Democrats and handing them a victory on this bill, each House Member got 2 million dollars to spend in their districts with very few restrictions. The Senators who voted for, or allowed SB 554 to pass, each got 4 million.

Now that most Senate Republicans, and virtually all House Republicans, have caved, SB554 is much closer to becoming law. Because changes were made to the bill when it was passed in the House, it will have to go back to the Senate for their approval of the changes. If most Senate Republicans fold again, the bill becomes law. If the Senate does not agree to the changes, a “conference committee” will have to be appointed consisting of both House and Senate members.

That committee’s job will be to reach an agreement on final language.

So, while anything can happen, it is entirely possible that they will make the bill even worse than it is.

Because the bill has been through many iterations, we want to tell you what is in the language of the most recent version as passed by the House.

There are some elements of the bill we will not discuss.  We see no reason to point out to the people who are attacking your rights and ability to protect yourself, some of the mistakes they have made.

That would just allow them to go clean up the mess and make the bill even more dangerous. But we’ll point out the most important elements that will make you far less safe should this bill finally pass.

Keep in mind, the Democrats who promoted this bill are the same people who condone the mindless violence that has continued unabated in Oregon for the last year.

The Republicans who claim to oppose this bill but helped pass it by providing a quorum for the Democrats don’t approve of the violence but are willing to place you and your family in increased danger for a few million bucks.

Section 2(1) describes “authorized persons”:

“Authorized person” means a person authorized by the owner or possessor of a firearm to temporarily carry or control the firearm while in the presence of the owner or possessor.

Section 2(9) describes “possessor”:

“Possessor” means a person who possesses a firearm with permission from the owner of the firearm for a period of time when the owner is not present.

So it appears a person, other than the owner of the gun, can be allowed to be in possession of the gun whether the owner is present or not. A person can be given permission to control a gun by someone who does not own the gun if the person who is giving permission has been given permission to give that permission by the owner. But only while in the presence of the “authorized person”.

We hope that’s clear.

Both the sponsors of the bill, and the lawyer who drafted this language, have stated that you may allow your minor child to have access to one of your firearms to protect themselves. However,  Section 2 (3) (b) says that “control” (meaning control of the firearm)  means:

That the owner or possessor of the firearm is in the person’s own residence, either alone or with only authorized persons who also live in the residence and who are not minors, and the residence is secure.

It would appear, that while the owner of a firearm could “authorize” a minor, that minor could still not be in possession of the firearm since neither the owner nor a “possessor” is in the mandated “control” of the firearm if minors are present. We think.   

But while the bill seems to allow an “owner or possessor” to “authorize” another person to “carry or control” a firearm as long as the “owner or possessor” was present, the “authorized person” would still have to be someone who lived in the house. It’s not clear how you “authorize” someone to be a “possessor” instead of an “authorized person.”

Got it? Good, we’ll move on.

Section 3 of the bill deals with mandated storage.

SECTION 3. (1)(a) An owner or possessor of a firearm shall, at all times that the firearm is not carried by or under the control of the owner, possessor or authorized person, secure the firearm:

The bill mandates that all your guns be locked up and useless except in very specific circumstances.

While, as you can see, the bill’s language is mostly incoherent (don’t worry, according to the sponsors the courts will figure it all out) the bill mandates that you lock up anything you are not carrying or are  “…close enough to the firearm to prevent another person who is not an authorized person from obtaining the firearm”.

The bill does not say you must actually “prevent” another person from obtaining the firearm “only that you “be close enough.”

In order to comply with the law your guns must be “secured.” That means:

A) With an engaged trigger or cable lock;

(B) In a locked container; or…..

(C) In a gun room.

So. What’s a “gun room?”

(5) “Gun room” means an area within a building enclosed by walls, a floor and a ceiling, including a closet, that has all entrances secured by a tamper-resistant lock, that is kept locked at all times when unoccupied and that is used for: (a) The storage of firearms, ammunition, components of firearms or ammunition, or equipment for firearm-related activities including but not limited to reloading ammunition, gunsmithing and firearm cleaning and maintenance; or (b) Conducting firearm-related activities, including but not limited to reloading ammunition, gunsmithing and firearm cleaning and maintenance.

That sounds like almost any room in the average gun owner’s home. But since it’s not clear exactly where the “secured entrances” have to be don’t count on it.

There is nothing in the bill that exempts gun stores from all these locking requirements. It is not known how they will be able to comply with these regulations. So far, no one has thought to inquire about that during the floor debates.

A firearm is not considered “secure” if:

A) A key or combination to the trigger or cable lock or the container is readily available to a person the owner or possessor has not authorized to carry or control the firearm.
(B) The firearm is a handgun, is left unattended in a vehicle and is within view of persons outside the vehicle.

We are guessing that (B) means if the gun is locked in your car, but can be seen, it’s not “secure.”

Any gun you do not lock up is a Class C Violation just for not locking it up.

However, if a minor gets an unsecured firearm, it’s a Class A Violation.

(2)(a) A violation of subsection (1) of this section is a Class C violation.
(b) Notwithstanding paragraph (a) of this subsection, a violation of subsection (1) of this section is a Class A violation if a minor obtains an unsecured firearm as a result of the violation and the owner or possessor of the firearm knew or should have known that a minor could gain unauthorized access to the unsecured firearm.

Here is what follows in Section 3.

c) Each firearm owned or possessed in violation of subsection (1) of this section constitutes a separate violation.

(3) If a firearm obtained as a result of an owner or possessor of a firearm violating subsection (1) of this section is used to injure a person or property within two years of the violation, in an action against the owner or possessor to recover damages for the injury, the violation constitutes per se negligence, and the presumption of negligence may not be overcome by a showing that the owner or possessor acted reasonably.

(4) Subsection (3) of this section does not apply if:
(a) The injury results from a lawful act of self-defense or defense of another person; or (b) The unsecured firearm was obtained by a person as a result of the person entering or remaining unlawfully in a dwelling, as those terms are defined in ORS 164.205.

So, if a person gets possession of your unlocked firearm you are liable for what they do with it even if you can demonstrate that you acted “reasonably.”  They replaced the term “ strict liability” but it basically means the same thing. There is nothing in the bill that describes how you can prove that guns taken from you were “secured.” So it’s not known if you have to prove they were, or the court has to prove they were not. 


If you read subsection 4 above, you might get the impression that your are not in trouble if an unsecured firearm was used in self defense or was stolen. But not so fast.

Subsection 4 says you will not be subject to being sued if a gun is stolen or used in self defense, but you can still be charged with having it unlocked. And then only if the gun was stolen from a “dwelling.” You have no protections if the gun was stolen from your business or your car. And, as you will see, other parts of the bill almost compel you to leave your gun in your car at times.

Section 4 of the bill requires that firearms be transferred with an “engaged trigger or cable lock or in a locked container.”

That means that every new firearm you purchase must be locked when you get it. And every gun you transfer to someone other than a close family member must be locked up.

If they are not, the person who transfers the gun is liable for misuse of that gun for two years. We don’t even have to discuss the lunacy of this demented provision. But again, no one knows how dealers and others are supposed to prove that guns that were transferred were locked up… two years ago.

Section 5 of the bill mandates that you report lost or stolen guns. You are responsible for any crime or accident associated with any lost or stolen gun for two years after it is lost or stolen if you don’t report the loss or theft. 

Section 6 deals with supervising minors.

We think we’ll just leave this out so the nazis pushing this crap don’t get any worse ideas.

Section 8 is where a lot more trouble happens.

The short version is licensed gun owners will no longer be allowed in their capitol building with firearms. Not even legislators.

The steps and the grounds surrounding the Capitol will still be open and available for blm or antifa or anyone else who wants to riot and threaten people. But licensed gun owners will now be forbidden from going through those gauntlets with any protection. But since we are not allowed in the building anymore anyway, really… what’s the difference ?

You don’t have any meaningful way to participate in the “legislative process” now, why should you expect it in 30 or 40 years when all the new variants of covid have been conquered?

You will also not be allowed in airport terminals. But don’t you worry about that, it’s been a while since there have been significant disruptions at the airport.

And you can always leave your gun in your car. (Ok well, never mind.)

But the bill also bans licensed carry on school grounds.

Any school, college and OHSU can ban licensed carry not only in their buildings, but on any grounds they “control.”

That means you can no longer drop off or pick up your kids. You can no longer attend sporting events. You can no longer participate in any program taking place at any school that decides to banish you. And it means the school shooters, who the supporters of this bill used to generate the tears and pant wetting they employed to pass this crap, get carte blanche to attack the babies unimpeded by CHL holders. And of course, the Democrats also want to eliminate police in schools, declaring open season on the kiddos.

Those are the highlights.  We expect this bill to be back on the Senate floor early next week. The Senate Republicans have one more chance to stand up for you, the people who elected them.

Or they can just keep the loot.

One man is keeping Senate Republicans on the floor to help the Democrats stick it to gun owners.

There is still time to let him know how you feel.

Senator Fred Girod

Republican – District 9 – Stayton

Capitol Phone: 503-986-1709