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Despite Anti-Gun Pressure, Oregon’s 2011 Legislative Session Sees Positive Gains

Friday, July 29, 2011

During an active legislative session for Oregon's firearms owners, several pro-gun bills worked their way through both houses of the legislature while others ran out of time before the session adjourned.  Of particular note was the successful demise of onerous, anti-gun bills and last-minute amendments that failed to move forward. 

End-of-session status of priority gun bills:

House Bill 2875 B, no-net-loss legislation, was signed into law by Governor John Kitzhaber on June 21.  Sponsored by state Representatives Brian Clem (D-21), Sal Esquivel (R-6) and Deborah Boone (D-32), HB 2875 B requires the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to open for hunting access an equal amount of land subject to their control that had been closed to hunting access by the Wildlife Commission.  Although HB 2875 B was heavily amended from its original version, it makes progress for Oregon hunters.  This is the third legislative session for this issue, and it received considerable bi-partisan support in both the state House and Senate.  HB 2875 B goes into effect on January 1, 2012.

House Bill 2792 B Eng., sponsored by state Representative Kim Thatcher (R-25), was introduced to recognize out-of-state Concealed Handgun License permit holders.  It received a majority of support in the state House but was drastically altered in the state Senate.  The version of the bill that reached the Governor would define what constituted "unloaded" for the purposes of carrying a firearm on an ATV or snowmobile.  Every year individuals are cited for illegally carrying "loaded" firearms due to the ambiguity of the statutory language, so this is a policy improvement. 

HB 2792 B Eng. is currently awaiting approval by Governor Kitzhaber.  Please contact Governor Kitzhaber today and urge him to sign HB 2792 into law.  You may contact the Governor by phone at (503) 378-4582 or you can e-mail him by clicking here.

House Bill 2787, authored by state Representatives Jeff Barker (D-28) and Kim Thatcher, would have prohibited a public body from releasing information that identifies the holder of or applicant for a Concealed Handgun License.  A long-standing priority of the NRA, HB 2787 passed in the state House but was stalled in the Senate Judiciary Committee and eventually died when the session adjourned.  The Senate version of this bill, Senate Bill 582 by state Senator Doug Whitsett (R-28), met the same fate in the Senate.

House Bill 2791, also sponsored by state Representative Kim Thatcher, would have removed the Department of State Police (OSP) as the designated state point-of-contact for the purposes of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).  HB 2791 was met with major resistance from the State Police and progress stalled as the session wound to a close. 

Senate Bill 5538, by order of the President of the Senate, would have increased fees on background checks on firearm purchases from the current $10 to $26, and fingerprinting from the current $15 to $27.  As Co-Vice Chairman of the Public Safety Sub-Committee, state Representative Greg Smith (R-57) found additional funding to cover the cost of the firearms program without an increase in fees for Oregon gun owners.  The NRA thanks Representative Smith, as well as state Senator Jackie Winters (R-10), for their hard work ensuring that SB 5538 did not pass.  

Thanks to all NRA members who contacted their elected officials during this session.  Your support really does make a difference.

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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.