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Oregon and Gun Owners

The Oregon State Legislature is ready to consider a whole slew of new gun control measures.

According to OregonLive, the Oregon Senate Judiciary Committee heard four hours of testimony yesterday regarding a new batch of firearm regulations.

OregonLive says this regarding opposition to the proposed regs, “Their perennial opponent at the state capitol, the Oregon Firearms Federation, minced no words: “This bill could be the most extreme attack on gun rights in Oregon history.”

Here are some of the provisions.  They can be found in the amendments to the original bill, which was only a paragraph long.  The amendments provide us with an additional 44 pages to read through.

  • Permitting retailers to raise the minimum age for firearm sales (up to 21). Age discrimination law is amended to permit this change.
  • All firearms must remain secure in a locked container, in a safe, gun room, or rendered inoperable with a trigger or cable lock.
  • Owners in violation of the above section are liable for harm caused by their firearm even if it’s stolen.
  • Liability for owners who fail to report a stolen firearm within 72 hours.
  • Criminalizes unlawful storage.

OregonLive adds a summary of some of the other provisions,

“Another section of the lengthy amendment would allow local governments, including school districts, to ban all firearms from public buildings, including those carried by concealed handgun license holders. Those bans would include the grounds adjacent to those buildings.

The ban on firearms could also include the parking lots at Portland International Airport, which means that gun owners who pick up or drop off a passenger could be in violation of the law, even if their weapon is locked in their trunk. However, it would not apply to someone who carries an unloaded firearm in a locked, hard-sided container for the purposes of checking the container onto a flight, in accordance with federal law.

The bill would not automatically lead to those restrictions, but it would allow local governments, school districts and the Port of Portland to enact the regulations if they wished.”

Firearm owners are one of the few groups of people who have to stay up on law if they want to avoid an accidental misdemeanor or felony charge.

Gun control measures criminalize innocuous practices or parts, all designed to stop individuals who have no inclination to obey the law.

Oregon is an interesting state. It isn’t known for having anti-gun policies. Yet as the state government veers further left, policies that were previously friendly to gun owners find themselves being curtailed, reaching as close as they can to violating the standards set forth in recent 2nd Amendment case law.

One provision is almost certainly unconstitutional since it has already been before the court. When the Supreme Court issues a ruling and the case is remanded, they direct the lower courts to address the issue “not inconsistent with this ruling.”

It is obvious that once the standard has been announced, state legislatures and state courts may not enact or compel a policy change that is inconsistent with that standard.

In D.C. v. Heller, the Supreme Court ruled that requiring firearms be locked up or rendered inoperable is unconstitutional, yet the Oregon State legislature wishes to revisit that impermissible territory.

The other provisions raise questions that have yet to be decided. And when we look at the summary of provided by OregonLive, we see the eternal problem that gun owners face. That is the constant burden of having to know local ordinances and how they interact with state law. When firearm policy changes based on what city or county one is in, it invites unnecessary criminalization of conduct.

This is similar to the phenomenon we see in the movement for reciprocity. If a resident of Indiana is carrying a firearm in compliance with Indiana’s laws and they simply have to drive through Illinois, there is no reason why a speeding ticket should turn into a felony.

Likewise, an Oregon resident should not have to worry about one city going beyond state law and imposing absurd burdens on citizens of other parts of the state.

It deters the lawful carrying of firearms. When a city or state decides to proscribe so many aspects of firearm use and possession, promoting concealed or open carrying is useless. Those proscriptions are a de facto ban on carrying. For example, when more and more locations are deemed gun free zones, a person who is normally inclined to carry will say screw it. There is no point subjecting oneself to unnecessary legal trouble.

That result is an unarmed populace, unwilling and unable to defend itself.

Gun owners in Oregon need to petition their representatives or prepare legal action.

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