Oregon Democrats Propose 3 New Bills in Latest Gun Control Push By: Brian Jones

Oregon Dems discussing new gun-control legislation.
Oregon Democrats meet virtually to discuss new gun control. (Photo: KATU)

Oregon’s gun-grabbing legislators are doubling-down on gun control efforts, proposing three new bills, even though their last attempt — Measure 114 — is still being held up in court on a constitutionality challenge.

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Oregon Democrats, together with State Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum have proposed the following bills:

  • House Bill 2005: Would punish the manufacture, sale and possession of so-called “ghost guns,” lumping what Rosenblum calls “undetectable” all-plastic, 3-D printed guns in with unserialized made-at-home parts and kits.
  • House Bill 2006: Would increase the age to purchase firearms in the state from 18 to 21, with exceptions for a very limited number of types of arms used for hunting, and for those individuals in law enforcement or the military.
  • House Bill 2007: Would amend the current law that only allows the state legislature to make restrictions on people who possess concealed handgun licenses (CHLs), and allow cities and counties to create a patchwork of various laws restricting Oregonians from possessing firearms in each agency’s buildings or grounds.

All three bills are scheduled for informational hearings and public discussion on March 23rd, but House Bill 2005 is already scheduled for a vote on March 28, a mere five days after the discussion.

So far, no state Republican has signed on to any of the bills, but that doesn’t mean much in a state where Democrats control both chambers of the legislature and the Governor’s office.

In pitching House Bill 2005, Rosenblum gave testimony as to the (debatable) proliferation of what she called “undetectable” all-plastic guns.

“These guns are purely plastic; they have literally no metal and they literally cannot be detected,” Rosenblum told the Capital Chronicle in an interview.

Of course, she fails to mention that virtually all modern ammunition is detectable by metal detectors. Moreover, other than a few notable exceptions (the 2013 “Liberator“), nearly every so-called “ghost gun” uses standard metal parts for the slide, barrel, and trigger assembly.

“If they are unserialized, then law enforcement simply cannot trace these crime guns and very frequently, unfortunately, these guns are more and more being used to commit crimes,” Rosenblum said.

House Bill 2006 would raise the age for firearms purchases from 18 to 21. State Representative Paul Evans (D-Monmouth) told the Capitol Chronicle, “The problem is that there’s some young people who aren’t capable of having a firearm and when they do, they’re not getting the behavioral health or mental health support they need and they use that instrument to do things that they shouldn’t do.”

The bill copies laws in other states which have sought to raise the age for firearm purchases, however many of those laws have been challenged in court. A few already have been struck down.

Indeed, even in Oregon, a state appeals court found that a company setting policy restricting gun and ammunition sales to residents under 21 was unconstitutional.

House Bill 2007 could perhaps cause some of the most confusion for Oregon residents if it were to go into effect. Under existing Oregon law, local government agencies like cities and counties can pass ordinances that restrict people from openly carrying firearms in public buildings and grounds. But Oregonians are exempt from those ordinances if they have a CHL.

The current law provides a certain level of comfort and knowledge for gun owners across the state; that possession of a CHL means that you have the same ability to carry in one location as any other. But, by pawning off their responsibilities to local jurisdictions, the legislature is pitching the bill as giving them more control.

“This literally says, ‘Look, you now have the responsibility, local leaders,’” Evans said. “We’re willing to share that responsibility with you if you want to do this.”

But gun owners believe that it could lead to confusion with alarming legal consequences. Gun owners would be required to have detailed knowledge of possible restrictions as they move around in their daily lives. Daily carry around the state would become a nightmare.

With single-party control of the legislature and an almost-guaranteed rubber stamp of approval by the governor, the bills could stand a good chance of becoming law.

The good news for Oregon residents is that Measure 114 remains tied up after it got slapped with a restraining order, enjoining it from going into effect until the Harney County trial takes place in September.

As always, stay tuned for updates!

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