Monday, March 21, 2005

Albany Democrat-Herald : Olson Against Firearms Bills

.: Albany Democrat-Herald :. Archives

Olson against firearm bills

More than two dozen bills dealing with firearms are pending in the Legislature, and Albany's state representative takes a dim view of most.

"The bottom line, the way I look at it, is that I don't want bills just chipping away at the Second Amendment," Rep. Andy Olson, R-Albany, said in an interview Friday.

According to his count, 14 gun-related bills have been introduced in the Senate and 15 in the House.

Except for a couple, Olson said they would all be heard by the House Judiciary Committee, on which he serves.

Among the bills Olson said he would oppose is SB 335, which would allow school districts to prohibit persons with permits to carry concealed weapons to carry them on school property.

He called the bill a "solution looking for a problem."

Olson spent his career in the Oregon State Police before he retired and later ran for office. He said he had not heard of any firearm-related problems caused in schools by people with concealed-weapons permits.

Olson also spoke against proposed bans on so-called "assault weapons" and large-capacity magazines.

"I'm opposed to that," he said. "These are not automatic weapons we're talking about."

The guns targeted by the proposed bans don't often figure in crimes, according to him.

"The majority of time suspects use handguns," he said. "They want to keep them concealed."

If any of the Senate bills make it to the House, Olson predicted that most of them would be opposed in House Judiciary.

Our congratulations to Rep. Andy Olson, who is willing to stand up and say :

"I'm opposed to that," ... "These are not automatic weapons we're talking about."
Well, yes. As far as he gies in his opposition, that's true.

Currently it is not a CRIME for a person with a Concealed Carry Handgun (CCH) in Oregon to possess a handgun on school property. This includes a person who is a CCH holder (as I am) who workes on the premises of a State University (as I am) and, for example, places said handgun in the trunk of his car preparatory to going to work at, and parking on the premises of, a State University for the purpose of having it immediatelly avaliable for the purposes of driving immediatelyl to and off-site location to engage in practice. (Which I have, of course, never done and will never in the future do! Even though I would not be in immediate control of the handgun, I have moved said handgun to a location within the confines of a University, which is a School ... wheter or not I recognize that this constitutes "A School" and which is not, at the moment, a felonious crime.)

Hwever, SB 335 is a bit more far-reaching than evern Rep. Olson has noticed.

Note here some details of the proposed Oregon Senate Bill 335:

SECTION 1. ORS 166.370 is amended to read:
166.370. (1) Any person who intentionally possesses a loaded or
unloaded firearm or any other instrument used as a dangerous
weapon, while in or on a public building, shall upon conviction
be guilty of a Class C felony.

Note the differences here? The title of the bill seems to involve only a "firearm", but the actual text of the bill includes "...any other instrument used as a dangerous weapon ...".

This opens up an entire other can of worms.

First, let's back up and talk about "firearms" and "Concealled Carry Handgun Permit Holders:

(d) { + Except as otherwise provided in subsection (5) of this
section, + } a person who is licensed under ORS 166.291 and
166.292 to carry a concealed handgun.
(e) A person who is authorized by the officer or agency that
controls the public building to possess a firearm or dangerous
weapon in that public building.
(f) Possession of a firearm on school property if the firearm:
(A) Is possessed by a person who is not otherwise prohibited
from possessing the firearm; and
(B) Is unloaded and locked in a motor vehicle.
(4) The exceptions listed in subsection (3)(b) to (f) of this
section constitute affirmative defenses to a charge of violating
subsection (1) of this section.
{ + (5) A school district board may prohibit persons licensed
under ORS 166.291 and 166.292 from possessing firearms in or on a
public building that is a public school or the site or premises
of any student program or activity that is sponsored or
sanctioned by a public school.

Yes, that's right. Subsection 5 says that even if you hold a CCH license, you can't posssess a firearm at a pubilc school, or on the grounds of a public school or even at a place where a school-sponsored activity (such as an unannounced field trip to a park!) is taking place.

That is, if a school decides to schedule a field-trip to a park, and you live next to that park, any firearms in your place of residence are ipso facto grounds for charging YOU with violation of state firearms control law, even if your guns are locked up in your gun-safe.

But wait, it gets better~

So, what's about this "dangerous weapon" stuff?

Within the context of the bill, this term is actually defined THUS:

{ - (5) - } { + (6) + } 'Weapon' means:
(a) A firearm;
(b) Any dirk, dagger, ice pick, slingshot, metal knuckles or
any similar instrument or a knife other than an ordinary pocket
knife, the use of which could inflict injury upon a person or
(c) Mace, tear gas, pepper mace or any similar deleterious
agent as defined in ORS 163.211;
(d) An electrical stun gun or any similar instrument;
(e) A tear gas weapon as defined in ORS 163.211;
(f) A club, bat, baton, billy club, bludgeon, knobkerrie,
nunchaku, nightstick, truncheon or any similar instrument, the
use of which could inflict injury upon a person or property; or
(g) A dangerous or deadly weapon as those terms are defined in
ORS 161.015.

Okay, this may seem relativelyl innocuous.
Except that some of the terms in sub-subsection (f) aren't defined.

Why should you care?

Consider a hypothetical:

Assume that you are living in a 'university town' such as my current residence community, Corvallis Oregon, home of Oregon State University.
Assume that you have a family with 2.5 children, and one of these children is an 18-year-old girl who has registered to attend classes at OSU.
Assume that you live further than 'walking distance' from the University, so your daughter-the-student consideres it too far to walk to school ... so she buys a parking permit and parks on campus while attending classes.
Assume that your daughter is aware of the current lawless state in Corvallis, where expensive bicycles are stolen daily and automobiles are stolen less regularly, but on occassion.

Is it not reasonable that your daughter considers her personally owned transportion, being subject to theft, could better be protected from theft by means of a device which locks the steering wheel so it cannot be used to drive said vehicle away by a person who has no permission to used said vehicle?

What's one common way to protect an automobile from theft?

That's right: The Club!

The Club ... made of metal and used to prevent automobile theft by virtue of its abiltiy to fix a steering wheel in place ... is (other than the fact that it is made of metal rather than of wood) is the typification of the term "knobkerrie".

<>Being admittedlyl club-like in nature, and having a"'knob" (or reasonable facsimile thereof) at one end, "The Club" is readily construed as either a "club" or a "... knobkerrie". As such, it is
" .. [a]. truncheon or any similar instrument, the use of which could inflict injury upon a person or property... "

You don't think so?
If you were drafted to jury duty, and were specifically required to define "the Club" in terms of a weapon, how would you rule?

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