Oregon Firearms Federation Legislative Update
Salem, Oregon –-(Ammoland.com)- We are now entering into that time in the legislative session where tempers fray, rational thinking is in short supply and really bad things happen.
Now that our session has a statutory ending date, the last minute back-stabbing, bill-stuffing and childish retribution is highly compressed.
While following what has happened to gun bills in 2011 would be better illustrated with a flow chart, we'll do our best to explain where we stand now.
Although we had quite a few bills introduced in 2011, four actually made it through part of the legislative process. They were:
- HB 2787, a bill to protect the privacy of CHL holders.
- HB 2791, a bill to turn background checks over to the Feds and save gun buyers some money.
- HB 2792, a bill to recognize other state's concealed handgun licenses and,
- HB 2797, a bill to define how a person may lawfully transport a firearm on a motorcycle, ATV or snowmobile.
Early in the session we were informed by an unimpeachable source that Floyd Prozanski planned to insert a poison pill in any gun bill that came to his committee, unless he planned to kill the bill outright. This information turned out to be painfully accurate. So here's where we are at.
HB 2787 passed overwhelmingly in the House and was killed by Prozanski in Senate Judiciary. Although scheduled for a work session, Prozanski simply ignored the bill and it died on Wednesday.
HB 2791 passed out of the House Judiciary Committee. Representative Andy Olsen, usually a supporter of gun rights voted no, but Representative Chris Garrett, who is not in any way a reliable friend of gun rights, voted yes as a courtesy for a Republican rep who was out of the room at the time. 2791 was sent to the Ways and Means Committee where it currently lies, bruised and bleeding by the side of the road while legislators step over it and pretend it does not exist. It is not officially dead, but without some action soon it will die of neglect. The State Police will continue to mismanage background checks and gun buyers will continue to pay twice for a “service” they never requested. Even some of the early supporters of this bill started to get cold feet when the public employee's unions came out in force to proclaim that if a few union employees at the State Police ID unit lost their jobs, Oregon's economy would collapse.
HB 2792 passed the House by a wide margin and was also sent to Floyd Prozanski's sausage factory. There, any reference to recognizing other states' permits was removed. Inserted was the motorcycle language from HB 2797 and new restrictions on felon's abilities to get gun rights restoration. This issue has been an obsession with Prozanski ever since 2009 when SB 603 passed. 603 allowed felons to go to court and make a case for why they should have their firearms rights restored. From the moment that bill passed (with no opposition in either house) Prozanski has been trying to reverse it. This is all the more odd since the bill was crafted by and approved by and voted for by…Floyd Prozanski. 2792 will next go to the full Senate for a vote. If it passes there (which is likely given that the two Republicans on the committee gave their blessings to this latest “gut and stuff”) it has to go back to the House for “concurrence.” The House can refuse to concur in which case a “conference committee” will be created to craft a compromise. We have repeatedly requested the key players to consider an amendment that will move “recognition” forward and defuse the gun haters argument against it.
The gun haters primary, stated objection to recognizing other states' handgun licenses is that other states do not have the lofty standards we do when issuing a CHL. We have crafted an amendment and have been distributing it to key legislators for months that instead simply allows residents of any state to apply for our license. We still believe this is a positive strategy but there is a serious case of “not-invented-here” in our legislature and it's unlikely any politician will suggest this simple commonsense amendment.
HB 2797 is the most pathetic example of legislative nonsense. In 2009, we drafted and passed legislation to define the term “readily accessible” for the purposes of transporting handguns for those without concealed handgun licenses. Our language included definitions for transport on a motorcycle. The motorcycle language was mistakenly removed from the final version, so right now we have no legal and practical way to transport a handgun on a motorcycle without a CHL. HB 2797 fixed that problem, but also clarified how to lawfully carry on a snowmobile or ATV. This was NOT in any way a controversial bill. It passed the House without a single no vote. Then it was sent to Prozanski to be turned into a Frankenstein's monster. We have to give him credit, he did a heck of a job. That bill now bans guns on any school or college property, a goal that has been Ginny Burdick's delusional fantasy for years. It's interesting to note that in the past, Prozanski voted against the same legislation because he knew it could not pass the House and he did not want to force Senators to go on the record supporting such lunacy when it had no chance of passing. Now, with the exact same dynamics. Prozanski did a 180 and passed this garbage out of his committee, forcing Senate Democrats to go on record with almost no chance of the bill ever becoming law. We've been told that Burdick has been haunting Prozanski about this issue and that might explain his otherwise inexplicable about-face, but maybe it was this brilliant letter from “Ceasefire Oregon.”
They repeatedly testified that there were three murders committed by CHL holders in schools. While there is no evidence in any of the cases they mentioned that the killers were actually CHL holders, what is interesting is this; none of the cases were in Oregon, they had to search nationally to find three incidents, all happened in states where it is already illegal to have a gun on school property and not a single one of these incidents would have been prevented by the enactment of their demented “no self-defense-in-schools” policy. But it looks like this was enough for Prozanski and his fellow Democrats on the committee, Bonamici and Dingfelder. Who needs facts when you can always fall back on hysteria? (The bill also includes language to keep CHL info private. Prozanski told us he could not move a bill that did this because his caucus did not approve, but he did put it into this bill which is sure to fail. Confused yet? )
The Republicans on the committee, Doug Whitsett and Jeff Kruse responded with a “minority report” which is basically an alternative bill that the Senate can vote on. Neither discussed any element of the proposed legislation with OFF, and while their proposals were ambitious, even Senator Kruse, on a local talk show, admitted it had no chance of approval. Given that their proposal was 34 pages, that it gave almost every anti-gunner something to hate, and was hastily and poorly drafted, this may be no net loss. The minority report had plenty of pro-gun language in it, but also included things that really made no sense, like making it a crime for someone under 18 to have a concealed firearm on school grounds. Last time we checked, that was already illegal.
On the other hand, the House Judiciary Committee modified a Senate Bill (SB 347) that was intended to protect private info of domestic violence victims and now includes protection for CHL holders. House Reps Mary Nolan and Carolyn Tomei, staunch liberal feminists voted against the bill in committee because it protects CHL holders. They would have voted yes to protect victims until the bill also protected victims who took steps to protect themselves. There are some people we will never quite understand.
So that's where we stand today. 2797 and 2792 will be on the Senate floor soon. 2791 remains on life support in the Ways and Means Committee and Floyd has managed to artfully muck up everything that came from the House with wide majorities. And now we get to do this every year.
The Oregon Firearms Federation has proven itself to be Oregon's only no compromise lobbying group, OFF 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