U.S.A. –-(AmmoLand.com)- Lawmakers in Salem, Oregon have passed the first gun control bill in a long time, and the Oregon Firearms Federation is declaring in a message that six Republican state senators, led by Senate Minority Leader Fred Girod have engaged in a “sell out.”
Yet all six voted “no” on the bill. They were joined by Democrat Sen. Betsy Johnson from Scappoose. A full voting history of the bill can be read here.
Senate Bill 554 is a so-called “safe storage” measure stretching 12 pages, and it includes a prohibition on firearms in the Capitol and “large airport terminals” and allows school districts, community colleges and universities to “set their own rules outlawing guns on their grounds,” OPB reported.
The bill mandates that the owner or “possessor” of a firearm “shall, at all times that the firearm is not carried by or under the control of the owner, possessor or authorized person, secure the firearm: (A) With an engaged trigger or cable lock; (B) In a locked container; or (C) In a gun room.”
According to Oregon Public Broadcasting, if Democrat Gov. Kate Brown signs the legislation, which seems likely, the Beaver State “will join 11 other states with laws requiring locking devices on stored firearms.”
One Oregon gun owner who requested anonymity told AmmoLand News via telephone that passage of the bill was “the stupidest thing you can possibly do.”
“This penalizes honest gun owners,” he said. “Any school or college can become a ‘gun free zone,’ and everyone knows most mass shootings take place in gun free zones.”
He said if the bill becomes law, it will not prevent crime. He also wondered how the safe storage law would be enforced.
“Are they going to come take a look at my guns,” he asked
The measure, OPB said, “opens up gun owners to civil litigation if their unsecured weapon is used to inflict injury.” The bill has teeth, as noted by the Portland Oregonian. Failure to secure a gun could bring a fine of $500, and if a minor is able to access the gun, the fine is $2,000.
Gun owners also need to report lost or stolen firearms to the police within 72 hours.
This provision stems from the theft of an AR-15 rifle by the killer who used it to open fire at the Clackamas Town Center in 2012, killing Cindy Ann Yuille and Steven Forsyth. It is stated in the preamble of the legislation. The shooter subsequently killed himself.
Almost predictably, Democrat Sen. Floyd Prozanski from Eugene told the Oregonian, “The vast majority of gun owners in this state are not going to be directly impacted by this.”
Not so, argues Sen. Tim Knopp, a Bend Republican.
“It clearly infringes on the right to people’s self-defense,” Knopp told the Oregonian.
Oregon gun rights activists aren’t furious only at majority Democrats. A recall effort has reportedly been launched against Sen. Girod (R-Lyons).
In a statement, OFF declared, “The damage Girod has done to Oregonians and his own caucus is incalculable.”
As described by the OPB report, “Girod and five of his Republican colleagues committed an act that some in their party felt was a betrayal: They showed up for work.”
AmmoLand reached out to OFF for comment, but the group has so far not responded.
In the past, Republicans have managed to derail gun control efforts by simply walking out, thus denying Democrats a quorum so no votes could be taken. But with the six Republicans in Senate chambers, the threshold was met. But according to the OPB report, Girod and his colleagues “chose to stay to oppose the bill, granting Democrats the quorum needed to hold a vote and pass the measure.”
There is definitely backlash, according to the OBP report, apparently toward both sides.
“State Sen. Bill Hansell, R-Athena, and other Senate Republicans say they have received death threats for granting Democrats a quorum in March,” the story reported.
And Girod is quoted in the article saying the Firearms Federation is “not welcome in my office.”
Gun control groups are reportedly happy with passage of SB 554. The Oregonian quoted Henry Wessinger, president of a group called State of Safety Action. He told the newspaper “Safe storage saves lives.” He said the measure will make it more difficult for school shooters to get firearms, and make gun owners more responsible.
Buried in the bill is a requirement for firearms dealers.
“A gun dealer shall post in a prominent location in the gun dealer’s place of business a notice, in block letters not less than one inch in height, that states, ‘The purchaser of a firearm has an obligation to store firearms in a safe manner and to prevent unsupervised access to a firearm by a minor. If a minor or unauthorized person obtains access to a firearm and the owner failed to store the firearm in a safe manner, the owner may be in violation of the law.’”
How this will ultimately play out is speculation. If Gov. Brown does sign the legislation, it will take effect 91 days after the regular session of the Legislature adjourns.
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