Oregon Legislature Starts Attacks On Gun Rights Early
Oregon – -(AmmoLand.com)- First, we'd like to thank all of you who have committed to being part of our efforts to protect gun rights in 2010. We are deeply grateful for your continued support.
Now on to the bad news.
Although the “special” session does not start until February, the Oregon legislature has already scheduled a “work session” on a “legislative concept” to reverse gains made in the 2009 session.
The “special sessions” were promoted by the legislature as a way to get around Oregon's policy of only meeting every other year. In an effort to be able to raise taxes on a more regular basis, the legislature created an annual “emergency” so they could meet every year. But clearly, they have plans to do more than simply raise your taxes in February.
On Wednesday, Jan 13, the House and Senate Judiciary Committees will be meeting. On the schedule for the Senate Committee is “Legislative Concept 57.”
The “concept” is 43 pages long, but its goal is brief and easy to explain. What this would do if it becomes law is reverse the corrections we made in 2009 with SB 603.
As you may recall, until the first of this year, Oregon's law stated that a person with a felony conviction could petition the courts to have his rights restored to buy a firearm. But, absurdly, he could not OWN that firearm.
After extensive discussions with Senate Judiciary Chairman Floyd Prozanski , we eventually convinced him that this clearly made no sense, and because of your tireless efforts,we passed SB 603 without a single “no” vote in either House. That bill took effect January 1. Now a person who had a felony conviction could request to have his rights restored. It was NOT a guarantee, it only allowed the person to ask. If he was successful his rights would be restored to buy AND own. In a country where a person can be convicted of a felony for being in possession of the wrong size lobster we believed this was an important correction.
Then, in September, at a joint meeting of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees, the Department of Justice testified that this bill must have been a “mistake.” Now, according to the DOJ, any felon could walk out of prison and buy a gun. This was nonsense. In fact, it was just plain false. Nothing could be further from the truth. But apparently, lies work.
The “legislative concept” that will be discussed on Wednesday reverses SB 603 and denies the ability to petition for rights restoration to anyone barred from possessing a firearm under ORS 166.270. That section covers anyone who has ever been convicted of a felony.
The only exception would be for persons who had only one felony, which was not a homicide or a weapons charge and had been released from “imprisonment, parole, post-prison supervision or probation,” for 15 years. Of course the catch is that those people could still be charged with unlawful possession under a different Oregon statute! So essentially we are back to where we were before all your hard work to pass 603, and all because the Department of Justice came and misrepresented the bill you passed.
This “concept” is on the schedule for the Senate Committee. That means it was approved by Senator Prozanski. Why he would seek to reverse a bill he helped draft remains a mystery and he has not responded to our call to him. So, it's time to get back in the saddle. We cannot allow all the hard work we did last year to be undone.
Please contact Senator Prozanski and tell him to kill this “concept” now. We made progress in our efforts to make Oregon's law make sense. Now he wants to turn back the clock. Contact info and a sample message follow. Please feel free to modify it.
Contact Info:Senator Floyd Prozanski
Capitol Phone: 503-986-1704
District Phone: 541-342-2447
Capitol Address: 900 Court St. NE., S-417, Salem, OR, 97301
District Office Address: PO Box 11511, Eugene, OR, 97440
Dear Senator Prozanski,
“Legislative Concept 57,” scheduled to be heard in your committee on Wednesday, returns Oregon law to its pre-2010 state of making no sense. Why would the state allow a person to ask for restoration of his rights if he was prohibited under 166.250 and 166.470 but NOT under 166.270? I know the Department of Justice testified in September that this bill would allow felons to walk out of prison and buy guns, but you know this is untrue since you were responsible for drafting the bill this seeks to reverse, SB 603.
I urge you not to be intimidated by the misrepresentations and scare tactics of the DOJ, and do not move LC 57 forward. We've made a small amount of progress in improving Oregon's laws. Please don't take a step backwards.
The Oregon Firearms Federation has proven itself to be Oregon’s only no compromise lobbying group, OFEF takes the same tough stands and serves as a vehicle for educating gun owners, promoting their rights and when necessary, fighting the freedom haters in court. Visit: www.oregonfirearms.org