Posted on



As you know, action on the gun owner registration bill, SB 941, has been postponed  until Monday.

The reason for this was an amendment that was proposed by Senator Kim Thatcher.

The amendment would have required that felons be identified on their driver’s license as prohibited persons and as such could not conduct a firearms transfer. From the responses we have received it appears most thought this was a good idea. (As we did.)

However, after more careful examination, Senator Thatcher is now proposing what we think is a better idea.

First, let’s understand what the problems were with the original proposal.

While it would be technically possible to provide list of felons to the Department of Motor Vehicles, there are other people who are prohibited for which no such list exists. Each person would have to have an individual background check to determine if they were in these other classes of prohibited people. Even if that were technically feasible, which is not likely, we would then be putting prohibitors on, and identifying people, who, for example, have been adjudicated mentally ill. That would be unfair.

We would also have to put identifiers on people convicted of “misdemeanor domestic violence.” Untold numbers of people have lost their gun rights because of unscrupulous prosecutions under this draconian Federal law. They should not have lost their rights in the first place and putting an identifier on their license would simply be adding insult to injury.

Add to this the fact, that in Oregon, many people lose their rights to possess firearms when they been convicted of nothing and have not even accused of a crime. Those people are subject to one of the many kinds of “restraining orders” Oregon issues. They lose their gun rights with no due process. We don’t want them included in any process that identifies “prohibited persons.”

So what Senator Thatcher is proposing is to make the following change in Oregon law.

An old Oregon statute makes it a crime to transfer a firearm to a prohibited person, if you “knew” or should “reasonably have known” that the person was prohibited.

That statue was written long before Oregon instituted its voluntary background check system which allows any private party to conduct a background check on a person to whom they are transferring a firearm. This system is totally voluntary outside of gun shows and has been in place for 15 years.

What Senator Thatcher is proposing (and remember we don’t have a final draft of the amendment yet) is to simply make it illegal to sell to a prohibited person. The requirement that you “knew” or “should have known” would be deleted.  But checks would not be mandated.

This means that if you are giving a gun to a trusted friend, you would not have to subject yourself and your friend to the foolish and expensive process Prozanski and Burdick are proposing. You would not have to pay a fee, find a gun store who would conduct the check, and register the gun, (assuming the check system was even working correctly, which often it is not.)

On the other hand, if you were selling a gun to someone you did not know at all, someone you had some concerns about (say someone with an Obama sticker on their car) you would be able to take advantage of the existing system to conduct a check on the buyer. If you did conduct the check and they were approved, you would be free from any liability for their future actions.  However, the check would still be totally voluntary. If the person was prohibited and you chose not to run a check, you would be liable. But you would never have to deal with this on transfers to people you knew and trusted.

For whatever reason, the people of Oregon elected a majority of anti gun-rights legislators this session.  They have control of the Senate and the House. The Senate President has vowed to ram a dangerous gun registration bill through. The Speaker of the House and the Democratic Majority leader, have promised they are going  to ignore the advice of many sheriffs and the stated position of many counties and do all they can to attack your privacy. If their bill passes, your ability to conduct a private transaction with your own property will be gone. If you are the victim of the one of the many failures of the system you are simply out of luck. That is their goal.

Senator Thatcher’s proposed amendment calls their bluff. It is well thought out and protects gun owners’ rights. We commend her for her courageous efforts to stand in the way of the gun grabbers.