(April 16, 2017)
PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Three new bills that would strengthen gun background checks and make it possible for law enforcement to take guns away from people with mental health issues will be introduced in the Oregon Senate on Monday. There’s already high interest in the bills — SB 764, SB 797 and SB 868 — and there’s expected to be a big turnout for public testimony on both sides.Without even looking at the bills ... I'm against them.
But let's look at the bills anyway, just to see why I'm against them.
SB 764: Written test required to prove gun-handling skills -
This is just silly. You can't prove that you are competent to handle a gun by passing a written test.
I teach a class in gun-handling safety. I've seen too many 'students' who could pass a written test, but don't even know where the safety-switch is located on their pistol ... or even that there IS a safety-switch!
SB 797: Close the Charleston Loophole -
The term Charleston Loophole refers to a murder which occurred because someone (name not cited) in Charleston was able to purchase a firearm because the NICS system was unable to verify his ineligibility to purchase a firearm. Yes, (name not cited) was a drug user who had been arrested and charged ... but he had not been convicted of a crime; he was not legally a criminal.
It is not legal to deny one's constitutional rights without trial. Therefore, there were no legal grounds to deny his purchase.
That's not a "loophole"; that's a "feature". It's in the Constitution; look it up.
SB 868: Confiscate private firearms without proof of criminal action -
SB 868 would let law enforcement take guns away from people convicted of stalking. It would also let concerned family members go to court to try and take guns away from a loved one, if they can prove that loved one is a risk to themselves or others.
This may be the most egregious of all laws, if it violates the constitutional rights of a private firearm owner without proof of "wrong doing".
Here is the bill:
The bill purports to allow the 'accused' (by a family member or member of the household) to be deprived of firearms as a consequence of any of several events. One of the events which may be used to justify this order is:
(g) Evidence of an acquisition or attempted acquisition within the previous 180 days by the respondent of a firearm, ammunition of another deadly weapon
In other words, if you purchased, or "tried" to purchase, a firearm (or ammunition) within the past six months, you may be considered a threat by the court. Other situations are applicable, but this is considered prima facie evidence that the confiscation of your firearms might be justifiable.
There has never been a law passed which performs such an indefensible breach of property rights, and that includes those laws which, for example, allow a governmental agency to condemn your private property ... real estate ... to build a mall.
The worst part of this law is that it is so easily subject to abuse.
A jilted lover, a divorced spouse, a relative who learns he/she has been left out of your will ... any person with whom you have a relationship might potentially use such a law to gratuitously undermine your civil rights. When you grant them the power to take away your rights, and the law does not noticeably allow you to defend yourself.
In practice in other states, this kind of law has been used to deprive lawful gun owners of their property. It may sound paranoid, but at this point the burden of proof is on you; better find a good lawyer.
And if you haven't inventoried your firearms (including make/model/caliber/serial number and a photograph), this might be a good time to do so. Otherwise, you may not get them all back after they have been confiscated.
Also ... you need photographs to verify the condition they're in before they were confiscated.
Photograph both sides of firearm, and the serial number. The people who come to "turn them all in" may not be as careful of the fit and finish of your custom rifle as you are.