With apologies to all my good friends in California, Oregon, and Washington State but the Pacific Coast is not also called the Sinister Coast for nothing. Yesterday, the Oregon House of Representatives voted 32 to 28 to concur on SB 941. This follows the 17-13 vote on April 14th by the Oregon Senate to pass the bill.
Governor Kate Brown (D-OR) indicated through her spokesperson that she would be signing the bill. According to The Oregonian, she is a gun control supporter of long standing. Brown assumed the Oregon governorship when ex-Gov. John Kitzhaber (D-OR) resigned the office under a cloud of scandal.
Senate Bill 941, according to its summary, would:
Requires private person to complete transfer of firearm by appearing with transferee before gun
dealer to request criminal background check or shipping or delivering firearm to gun dealer in
certain circumstances. Specifies exceptions for family members, law enforcement, inherited
firearms and certain temporary transfers. Punishes violation by maximum of one year’s
imprisonment, $6,250 fine, or both, or maximum of 10 years’ imprisonment, $250,000 fine, or both, for
second or subsequent offense.
[Requires] Authorizes Department of State Police to notify [local] appropriate law enforcement
agency when, during criminal background check performed prior to transfer of firearm, department
determines that recipient is prohibited from possessing firearm.
Authorizes court to prohibit person ordered to participate in assisted outpatient treatment from
purchasing or possessing firearm during period of treatment if certain criteria are met.
Declares emergency, effective on passage.
Unlike the I-594 which passed in Washington State, SB 941 is a bit more clear about what is a transfer and what isn’t. The bill says a transfer is a sale, gift, loan, or lease of a firearm with certain exceptions made for “temporary transfers”. Among the exceptions are when at a range whether for just target practice or a class; when hunting; when sent to a gunsmith or someone who customizes firearms; and when loaned to prevent “imminent death or serious physical injury” but only as long as needed to prevent death or injury. I will say that last exception is a bit vague. How do you determine when the threat begins or ends?
The vote for this bill was along party lines. In the Senate, 17 out of 18 Democrats voted for the bill while all 12 Republicans plus St. Sen. Betsy Johnson (D-Scappoose) voted no. Meanwhile in the House, 32 out of 35 Democrats voted for the the bill while all 25 Republicans voted no along with Democrat Representatives Jeff Barker (D-Aloha), Caddy McKeown (D-Coos Bay), and Brad Witt (D-Clatskanie).
Excuse this tangent but what I found so striking about both houses of the Oregon Legislature is that they are so overwhelmingly white. I don’t mean just predominantly white – I mean lily white or, as Procol Harum sang, a whiter shade of pale. The only minority in the State Senate is a Republican woman – Sen. Jackie Winters (R-Salem). In the House, it is barely better. Rep. Lew Frederick (D-Portland) is the only African-American while Representatives Jessica Vega Pederson (D-Portland) and Joe Gallegos (D-Hillsboro) appear to be the only Hispanics in the legislature. According to US Census figures, Oregon is 77.5% white, 2% black, 4% Asian, and 12% Hispanic which includes “white Hispanics”.
If Oregon was either a Southern or conservative state or both, the Justice Department under both Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch would have been all over them demanding answers. Since it isn’t, all is well.
Back on topic, I think the politicians who voted to preserve the Second Amendment rights of Oregonians should be recognized.
In the Senate: Senators Baertschiger, Boquist, Ferrioli, Girod,Hansell, Johnson, Knopp, Kruse, Olsen, Thatcher, Thomsen, Whitsett, and Winters.
In the House: Representatives McLane, Barker, Barreto, Bentz, Buehler, Davis, Esquivel, Gilliam, Hack, Hayden, Heard, Huffman, Johnson, Kennemer, Krieger, McKeown, Nearman, Olson, Parrish, Post, Smith, Sprenger, Stark, Weidner, Whisnant, Whitsett, Wilson, and Witt.
(The Democrats are in italic)