Gun control measure expected back after miss this session

May 20, 2019

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — A multifaceted gun control bill pushed by Oregon Democrats may be dead this session, but advocates and opponents alike are confident it will return.

The Statesman Journal reports that Senate Bill 978 was a casualty of the deal that got Senate Republicans to end their four-day walkout and return to the Capitol, allowing Democrats to pass a multibillion-dollar education revenue bill on May 13.

The move to include SB978 in the trade disappointed gun control advocates inside and outside the Capitol. The measure would have required safe gun storage; placed liability on gun owners if a gun is stolen, but not reported, and used to injure a person or property; outlawed untraceable and undetectable firearms; granted local authorities the power to regulate firearm access in public buildings; and allowed retailers to set higher minimum purchasing age restrictions.

“We certainly had hopes that this would be a big year for sweeping gun control and gun regulation here in Oregon,” said Hilary Uhlig, state campaigns lead for Moms Demand Action in Oregon. “If it was too hard to stomach as a package, we are used to incremental change and we will keep working until we can stem the tide of gun death.”

Buoying their outlooks somewhat was the success so far of House Bill 2013, Uhlig and other advocates said. It would fix an oversight from 2018 when lawmakers closed the so-called “boyfriend loophole” in gun possession by people convicted of domestic violence.

The original 2015 legislation barred people convicted of a domestic violence crime, or subject to a restraining order from possessing firearms, and this session’s HB 2013 lays out exactly how that is supposed to happen.

It passed out of the House a month ago with bipartisan support and is headed toward the Senate floor after a unanimous vote Thursday in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“I think you all know that I am very committed to moving forward on firearms safety measures,” Gov. Kate Brown said Thursday. “I expect, and I am hopeful, that House Bill 2013 will be on my desk for signature over the next few weeks.”

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