Saturday, April 4, 2015

Update on Oregon Senate Bill 941

I figured I'd kick off the weekend with some good news!

Via the Oregon Firearms Federation's e-mailing list, I learned that the committee vote on Oregon's Senate Bill 941 (which I wrote about here) has been postponed until Monday, April 6th. The postponement is due to amendments introduced by Sen. Kim Thatcher, who historically has been solid on gun rights.

Sen. Kim Thatcher
The first proposed amendment (PDF warning), if passed, would require that instead of subjecting private firearm transfers to Oregon State Police background checks — which include registration — the Dept. of Justice will notify the Dept. of Motor Vehicles of all Oregonians with felony convictions, and when their driver licenses, learning permits, and non-driver ID cards are up for renewal, they will be marked. All the private seller is recommended to do, then, is check the ID of the buyer: no "felon" brand, and the sale is good to go. It will also help dealers, too; if they check the ID and it's marked as a "felon", they don't need to contact OSP and pay the $10 fee to run the check in the first place.

Another amendment put forth by Sen. Thatcher removes all the text of the original S.B. 941 and replaces it with a provision that merely removes the "knows or reasonably should know" language from the criminal statutes on selling to prohibited persons (ORS 166.436 and 166.470). No DMV records get updated, no changes to ID cards; if you sell to a prohibited person, you're liable, but background checks remain 100% voluntary for private transfers (although, as an incentive, there is a criminal and civil immunity provision [ORS 166.436(7)] for the private seller if he/she runs a background check on the buyer, the buyer passes, and the buyer uses the firearm in the commission of a crime). There's no text for this proposed amendment yet; I'll update this post if/when it becomes available.

These are not bad amendments (I prefer the second one, as it mostly maintains the system as-is), but I believe in the end one or the other will serve as a "poison pill"; it'll cause the legislative death of the original bill when the sponsors pull the bill or refuse to vote for it. In this case, we can call it A Good Thing™. We'll see how the amendments do in committee and/or the Senate floor.

Stay safe.

No comments:

Post a Comment