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Corrections Officers Get Fifed.


barney fife

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?

hi-cap pistol


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Two gun bills that started in the Oregon House passed through the Senate yesterday and were heard again in the House today.

The reason they were back in the House was because some changes were made in the Senate, and the House had to agree to the changes. They did.

HB 4068 , which corrects errors in current law and addresses CHL applicants who had a single conviction for a small amount of marijuana, and HB 4035 which allows corrections officers to travel to and from work with their own firearms were both re-passed in the House.

4068 passed without a single “no” vote.

4035, the bill to protect corrections officers, got only one “no” vote. That was from House Rep Carolyn Tomei, whose single-minded hatred for gun owners has now eclipsed even Prozanski, Dembrow and Greenlick. That’s astonishing.

Representative Greenlick actually voted in favor of repassing the bill although he voted against the original passage. He spoke on the bill today, saying that it was his policy to simply vote “no” on any gun bill. (Well, any gun bill that did not call for a total ban.) So his agreement to repass the bill is quite a big deal. Remember, it was Greenlick who, last year sponsored a bill to ban virtually all modern firearms and allow warrantless searches of your home by the police. Representative Barnhart, another legislator who also defaults to “no” and had voted against this bill the first time, also changed his vote citing the addition of language that now said corrections officers would have to store their guns in lockers, if the prison provided them.  While this is far from an expression of support for gun rights, it’s good to see that they behaved with a tiny shred of common sense this time.

Make no mistake, your constant efforts were the only reason these bills passed. Many thanks to each of you who took the time to make your voice heard. It made all the difference.

That leaves us with one more piece of unfinished business. SB 1551.

This bill is a dangerous gun registration bill that has been bottled up because of your extraordinary activism.

Although its sponsor, Floyd Prozanski, promised it would pass out of his committee and even promised it would pass on the Senate floor, your actions have prevented that.

Instead he was forced to move the bill to the Rules Committee where every indication is, it will die.  But, anything can still happen. The Rules Committee (unlike other committees) does NOT close until the end of the session.  It is entirely possible that, as in years past, an effort will be made to resurrect this bill and ram it through. So don’t relax just yet.

But, so far, we have once again been victorious thanks to you. Keep your powder dry, and thanks.

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02.17.14 Two Gun Bills Pass The House

Two gun related bills overwhelmingly passed in the Oregon House today. Both were supported and heavily amended by OFF.

HB 4035 allows correction officers to travel with privately owned firearms to and from work at prisons, something they are currently forbidden from doing.

It may seem beyond belief that men and women who work with dangerous populations are not allowed to defend themselves on their way to and from work.   Recently one of them was murdered when he stopped to help what he thought was a stranded motorist. Even civilians without permits do not have these restrictions.

It should be noted that this restriction is not Oregon law. It is a condition imposed on corrections officers by the Department of Corrections much as some school districts disarm the employees who are responsible for keeping little children safe at school.

OFF believes that no public employee should be forced to give up his rights simply because he takes a job with the state, but all too often this is the case. If HB 4035 passes the Senate and is signed into law by the governor, at least some corrections officers will not be facing this absurd liability.

There is one line in the bill that troubles us however. Section 3 of the bill states the following ; Section 2 of this 2014 Act applies to employment contracts entered into or renewed on or after the effective date of this 2014 Act.

We have not yet received a satisfactory answer for why this section is needed.

Furthermore, the CO’s must have Oregon CHL’s. This is not a requirement for civilians who travel with firearms.

The following House Reps voted against allowing CO’s to protect themselves going to and from work: Barnhart, Berger, Greenlick and Olson.

Carloyn Tomei was excused but voted against the bill in Committee. Corrections officers, please take note.

The other bill that passed out of the House today was HB 4068.

4068 is a bill OFF has been working on for some time. We heavily amended the original version and made considerable improvements.

What this bill does is apply the same standards for CHL eligibility to persons who had very old, or out-of-state convictions for small amounts of marijuana as for those with more recent or in-state convictions. This is a long overdue correction to a simple mistake in current law. There were no “no” votes on HB 4068, however, once again, Carolyn Tomei, who was not on the floor, did vote against the bill in committee.

Both these bills now move to the Senate where they may simply sail through or may be used as pawns and bargaining chips by Floyd Prozanski to push his stalled gun registration bill, SB 1551.

While this bill expands the State Police checks to private transfers, you should know that for a significant amount of time today, their phones were down again. At least one dealer reported getting an “approval” and a “delay” on his computer check of a well known customer for the same transfer!

As you know, in spite of Prozanski’s multiple assurances that the bill would get a vote on the Senate floor and pass, he lacked the votes to pass the bill out of his Senate Judiciary Committee and it was sent to the Rules Committee where it can be considered and amended well after the Judiciary Committee closes.

There have been numerous reports that the reason the bill went to the Rules Committee was because Senator Arnie Roblan (a previous supporter of a similar bill) balked and objected to passing a bill that lacked the votes on the floor.

If so, this was an attempt by some anti-gun Democrats to avoid going on the record on what may have been a failed attempt at gun registration. However, if Roblan reallywanted the bill to die he could have simply voted “no” instead of moving it to another committee where it remains alive.   Roblan’s “no” vote along with the two “no” votes from the Republican members of the committee would have killed the bill dead. Instead Roblan dodged the issue and now the bill is still alive.

There have also been reports that Prozanski will attempt to have the legislature refer the bill to the voters.  If he succeeds you can count on one thing. Millions and millions of dollars in out-of-state money will pour into Oregon to savage your rights and privacy.

You may recall in 2000, Ginny Burdick was able to pass a ban on private transfers at gun shows with the help of millions of dollars from out of state millionaires and, of course, Senator John McCain who helped them pass this travesty.  We cannot let that happen again.

Please consider another note to the members of the Rules Committee (listed below).

A sample cut and paste message follows.

Diane Rosenbaum

Ted Ferriolli

Lee Beyer

Ginny Burdick

Bruce Starr


Dear Senator,

SB 1551 is now before your committee. This bill serves only as a step towards firearms confiscation.  While Senator Prozanski has claimed it would not require a background check for a loan of a firearm, your own Legislative Counsel said exactly the opposite.

While Prozanski claims to need make, model, caliber and serial number of every transferred firearm to “check for stolen guns” he can give no explanation for why those records must be kept by the transferor after the check!  Even the State Police claim they don’t do this.

The Oregon Sheriff’s Association recognizes this serves no legitimate law enforcement purpose. I urge you to pay attention to them.

Vote NO on SB 1551


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