Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Relating to firearms; and declaring an emergency.


A member of the Oregon State Senate has authored a bill which would define and outlaw "Assault Weapons" in Oregon. The link to the bill synopsis, including details, is included in the title.
This bill is from State Senator Ginny Burdick. It is a massive list of banned guns. It also outlaws magazines larger than ten rounds and requires a police issued "permit" to continue to possess the semi-auto rifles and shot guns you already own and bans "transfer" of the listed firearms even to your children.

I've been told that Senate President Peter Courtney will control whether or not this and other anti-gun bills move forward. He can be reached at:

(Hat Tip to, and quote from, Randy S.)

There are a couple of ramifications to this bill which Randy didn't mention in his email to me and to a number of Oregon people who are interested in Practical Rifle.

First, the permit which he mentions is structured similarly to the Oregon Carry Concealed Handgun (CCH) license, except that it refers to the simple possession of an "Assault Weapon" , not to carry or usage.

Second, the Assault Weapon permit includes the description and serial number of the firearm. This is de facto registration. Why is this worthy of mention? Well, the New York State Assembly recently introduced A03371, a bill which rescinds permission to own even 'grandfathered' registered Assault Weapons, as I noted a few days ago.


To repeal the grandfather clause in the definition of assault weapon
which currently allows the possession of an assault weapon if the weapon
was lawfully possessed prior to September fourteenth, nineteen hundred
ninety-four or if the weapon was manufactured on of before October
first, nineteen hundred ninety-three; to provide for the surrender and
destruction of such weapons.
(All italicized quoted text in this letter is 'emphasis added')
The "permit" is only the first step to confiscation, which New York is now attempting in bill A03371:

Section 2 Paragraph one of subdivision a of section 265.20 of the penal
law is amended to provide that all assault weapons must be surrendered
to the superintendent of the division of state police within 15 days of
the repeal of the grandfather clause.

Section 3 Section 400.05 of the penal law is amended to provide that
assault weapons surrendered after the repeal of the grandfather clause
will be declared a nuisance and be destroyed.

Randy's reference to "guns you already own" is a 'grandfather clause', in the sense that the current owner of a firearm on the extensive list is not considered a Felon for simple posession IF he/she has applied for, and been awarded a permit in the "shall issue" process.

We see, from the New York example, how politicians respect the efforts of honest citizens to comply with this kind of legislation.

You may note that the context of the NY bill doesn't describe a 'buy-back'. It is simple confiscation, without compensation of any kind.

The proposed Oregon bill gratuitously includes an exception to the "possession" charge if the firearm is "lent" ...

(b) At an exhibition, display, or educational project that is
about firearms and that is sponsored by, conducted under the
auspices of or approved by a law enforcement agency or a
nationally or state recognized entity that fosters proficiency in
or promotes education about firearms;
The supposition is that you can handle an 'assault weapon' at a gun show, as long as that show has been authorized by some official agency; however, since you would not be allowed to BUY it the weapon could not be offered for sale without turning both the seller and the would-be purchaser into a Class-B Felon. Make no mistake, this is not a "gun show loophole".

I can hear you saying:, "Hey, Geek! This has nothing to do me, I don't own an 'assault weapon' and I probably never will. I don't care, one way or another."

If you own ANY semi-automatic pistol which is fed by an external magazine ... you may be a Felon.
Here's one definition of an "Assault Weapon" in the Oregon bill:
(D) A pistol that has the capacity to accept a detachable
magazine and any of the following:
(i) A threaded barrel, capable of accepting a flash suppressor,
forward handgrip or silencer;
(ii) A second handgrip; or
(iii) A shroud that is attached to, or partially or completely
encircles, the barrel that allows a person to fire the weapon
without burning the person's hand, except a slide that encloses
the barrel.
If you own an IPSC Open-division pistol with a compensator, and the compensator is not an integral part of the barrel (as is the case in a large number of 'older' Race Guns), the compensator is probably screwed on. Which means that you are screwed. Even if your Race Gun is an STI, they only began making the compensators as an integral part of the barrel a couple of years ago.

Do you feel REALLY paranoid? Then you'll like this clause defining other sorts of Felons:

SECTION 3. { + Any person who manufactures or causes to be
manufactured within this state, who imports into this state or
who offers, exposes for sale, sells or transfers an assault
weapon in this state is guilty of a Class B felony. + }
The questions here are, first, does "exposes for sale" include someone in another state who offers for sale an "Assault Weapon" on an internet website? Can this law make Bushmaster a potential Felon for displaying their product on their website even if they have no intention of selling it to anyone in a state where it is specifically forbidden? I don't know. Do you? Stranger things have happened.

The other question is, suppose you own a firearm on the banned list, and you have applied for and received a permit. What happens when you die? Your wife, your children, arguably can't even TOUCH the firearm without becoming, by the act of touching it, "in posession of it". Does this sound far-fetched? Remember the clause cited above, which carefully makes an exception of touching an "Assault Weapon" at an "exhibition" which has been held "under the auspices of" an outside authority before you call me paranoid. Under the strictest interpretation of the law, your widow would have to call the polilce and have them come to your house to take the firearm out of the gun safe. If she takes it out of the safe, and she doesn't have a permit, she's breaking the law if she just carries it to the police station to turn it in after your death.

I don't believe that most people would consciously understand all of the implications of this law, and how it could make criminals out of honest people.

I DO believe that some politicians in my Blue State understand them, and would feel no remorse if an Oregon citizen accidently fell afoul of this most foul law.

I've already written to my state senator.

(Find out who represents you here.)

If you're an Oregon resident, you should take Randy's advice and contact your state representative (senator) to tell them that this is a BAD law which has no redeeming features. It addresses an issue which has nothing to do with reducing "gun crime" ... it only expands the definition of crime and will only affect honest citizens.

And there is no "emergency".


Anonymous said...

Hey Geek,
Thanks for the Heads Up
I called and wrote.


Gullyborg said...

While you are at it, tell your reps that you SUPPORT HB 2456 (reciprocity) and HB 2768 (no additional background checks for concealed carry permit holders).