The 2012 session of the Oregon Legislature convenes this Wednesday, February 1. Several pro-gun and anti-gun bills are expected to be introduced during this thirty day session. The following is a brief update of bills that will be making their way through the process:
Senate Bill 1550, introduced by state Senate President Pro Tem Ginny Burdick (D-18), would amend ORS 166.370 by creating a new prohibition, also a Class C felony, on possessing “a firearm or other instrument used as a dangerous weapon, while on school grounds.” The definition of “school grounds” would specifically include not just K-12 schools, colleges, and universities (as the “public building” ban does), but also community colleges. This bill is in response to the Oregon Court of Appeals ruling which ruled that universities do not have the authority to ban Concealed Handgun License (CHL) holders from carrying on campus grounds.
Senate Bill 1551, also authored by state Senator Burdick (D-18), is even more dangerous than SB 1550, in that it expands the prohibition on carrying in public buildings.
State Senator Floyd Prozanski (D-4), Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, is trying his hand at the gun bill game by introducing Senate Bill 1574, a measure that would set up a system whereby Oregon CHL holders could enjoy limited reciprocity with other states. Unfortunately, this measure is narrow in scope in that it allows for "subsets" of reciprocal licenses that would be dependent upon national databases available to law enforcement in the field called "verifiable reciprocal licenses." This could create a scenario whereby an individual carrying a concealed firearm on a reciprocal license that was not a "verifiable reciprocal license," could be arrested and the validity of the license would be a matter to be resolved in a subsequent investigation and prosecution. Senator Prozanski has rebuffed the NRA in crafting a clean and concise reciprocal CHL measure in favor of one that could put law-abiding gun owners at risk, which is why the NRA is opposing SB 1574.
Two pro-gun bills have also been introduced: House Bill 4045, by state Representative Kim Thatcher (R-25), would allow for the confidentiality of CHL holders’ personal information, and House Bill 4054, by state Representative Jim Thompson (R-23), would prohibit the Public Employees' Benefit Board from authorizing or requiring the collection of information or maintenance of records about firearms from eligible employees or family members applying for health benefits. Representative Thompson's bill was introduced after the efforts of state Senate Republican Leader Ted Ferrioli (R-30), who secured commitments from both Kaiser Permanente and the Public Employee's Benefit Board to purge gun ownership data that had been collected after implementing a new employee initiative called the "Health Engagement Model" where information related to firearm ownership was required to be submitted on the initiative's questionnaire. After Senator Ferrioli's inquiries, both plans dropped the questions related to firearms.
Please continue to check www.NRAILA.org for more updates on these issues in the Beaver State.