Today, March 3rd, marked the end of the 2016 legislative session.
These even-year, short sessions were sold as an opportunity to address emergencies and budget issues and nothing more. Instead, this session was used by Oregon Democrats to push complex, expensive and divisive measures in a time frame that allowed little debate, and little analysis.
The Republicans in the legislature did what they could to stand in the way, but the numbers being what they are, the left got most of what it wanted.
What it did NOT get, is more restrictions on your Second Amendment rights.
SB 1551, a horrible, Soviet style, bill designed to take away gun rights through secret, unfounded, and unproven allegations was derailed early in the session by your incessant activism. The bill did show, once more, the true intentions of Floyd Prozanski, whose war on gun owners was stepped up after the people of his district sought to recall him.
Next we faced HB 4147. This bill, by anti-gun extremist Jennifer Williamson, sought to eliminate the one small safeguard the law provides for people who are delayed on purchases of firearms with no justification. Her intention was to allow the Oregon State Police to deny a purchase forever simply because their own databasing and background checks are so faulty.
Anti-gun billionaire, Michael Bloomberg, flew in victims of the Charleston church shooting to add a layer of theatrics to their false charge that this meager safeguard was a “loophole.” In fact, nothing in this bill would have prevented that shooting and the sponsors and supporters of the bill all knew that.
It was the typical craven lies of the right’s haters and the entrepreneurial victims lobby. Dozens of stories were told of how this bill would protect women from domestic abuse, all of which were false, and an amendment, introduced by House Rep Sherrie Sprenger, which actually would have protected victims of domestic violence, was defeated in a party line vote by the Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee, led by House Rep Jeff Barker.
Barker, who has long stood as the most pro-gun Democrat in the Oregon House turned hard left this session and led the charge to pass the bill and defeat any pro-gun amendments. While he did reduce the time the State Police could delay a purchase from forever to ten days, the reality is ten days could still be a death sentence for a person facing a deadly threat. So the bill clearly hurt most, the people it pretended to protect.
Barker assigned the bill’s sponsor, Jennifer Williamson, the role of carrying the bill on the House floor. But somehow, before the floor debate, Barker was forced to carry the bill himself. No doubt this was punishment imposed on Barker by House Speaker Tina Kotek for Barker’s past support of gun rights and his refusal to support SB 941 last year.
The bill passed the House by the single vote needed for passage. The vote was 31 to 28 with three Democrats voting “no”: Brad Witt, Caddy McKeown and Deborah Boone. (Boone voted for SB 941 last year.) The bill was assigned to the Senate Rules Committee within minutes of passing the House.
Throughout the process, OFF supporters worked tirelessly to stop this terrible, right’s stripping bill. It seemed like once again, what Bloomberg paid for he was going to get, but because you never gave up, the bill was laid to rest in the Senate Committee. With all the division and rancor the Democrats had created, they just did not have the stomach for another gun fight.
Make no mistake, you made the difference. It was your efforts that killed this dangerous and evil bill. You have much to be proud of.
So congratulate yourself on a job well done. Enjoy a short breather, and then gear up. Elections are coming and your participation is critical. You have seen once again that your voice matters. Make sure your vote matters.
2017 will be here before you know it. There will be many more Bloomberg funded attacks on our rights.
Thanks for all you have done for Oregon and your support for the Oregon Firearms Federation.