Sen. Doug Whitsett: Oregon gun bills wrap-up

Sen Doug Whitsett

by Sen. Doug Whitsett

More than a dozen bills relating to firearms were introduced during the recently concluded 77th Legislative Assembly. Most of those bills would have, in some way, impinged upon our second amendment right to own and bear firearms.

A few of the more aggressive bills included:

• House Bill 3200 that would have created the crime of unlawful possession or transfer of an assault weapon or large capacity magazine, punishable by up to 10 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, or both.

• House Bill 3413 that would have created the crime of endangering a minor, by allowing the minor access to a fire arm, punishable by up to one year in prison, a fine of up to $6,250, or both.

• SB 347 that would have allowed each school district to establish their own rules regarding the right to carry a licensed concealed weapon on school property.  Violation of the law would have constituted criminal trespass, resulting in penalties of up to one year in prison, a fine of up to $6,250, or both.  This bill would also have preempted the current law that only allows the legislative body to create laws regulating firearms.

• SB 699 that would have restricted the right to carry a concealed weapon in the capitol building by most licensed people without the written permission of the legislative administration.

• SB 700 that would have required completion of a background check, before any firearm could be transferred between private parties. Failure to complete the background check could have resulted in penalties up to 5 years in prison, fines up to $125,000, or both.

• SB 758 that would have required the owner of a firearm to carry specific liability insurance on each firearm in their possession. It also made it a crime to transfer a firearm to another person unless that individual carried liability insurance on the weapon. Failure to maintain liability insurance on each firearm would have resulted in fines of up to $10,000 per firearm.

• SB 796 that would have required completion of a concealed handgun course, including a live fire test, before a concealed handgun license could be issued. It is unclear why our legislature should focus its attention on increasing the requirements to obtain a concealed carry permit. It seems that no one can remember the last time that an Oregon handgun licensee committed a crime with a firearm.

Each of these bills, except HB 3413, had an emergency clause attached. The only reason for the emergency clause would have been to prevent the bill from being referred to the people to decide.
None of these bills were enacted into Oregon law.

The primary reason that the bills did not pass was because the Senate Leadership knew that the combined 15 no votes of 14 Senate Republicans, and of Senator Betsy Johnson, would have defeated each of the bills on the Senate floor. For that reason, they were never allowed to come to the Senate floor for a vote.

From my perspective, that vote count is much too close for comfort. Your Legislative Assembly was within one vote of enacting each of those bills into Oregon law. It was within one vote of grossly impinging on our second amendment rights.

Unfortunately, too many people are simply unaware of the facts regarding the possession of guns, and the commission of gun related crimes. In fact, most families have been convinced by media reports that gun related crimes are on the increase in America.

That simply is not true!

Over the past twenty years, the number of homicides committed with a firearm in the United States has decreased by nearly 40 percent. The number of other crimes involving the use of a firearm has also plummeted, declining by nearly 70 percent. Unintended deaths by firearms have dropped by nearly 60 percent since 1993, and have decreased by more than 80 percent since 1929.

This dramatic decline in the number of crimes committed with firearms has occurred during the same time period when our national population has increased from 250 million to 315 million people.

During the same twenty years, more than 100 million guns have been sold to private citizens in the United States. Forty three percent of U.S homes now report that they possess one or more firearms. I would imagine that the gun owning percentage is actually much higher than reported, because many people who own firearms do not prefer to let anyone know that they have those weapons.

All indicators point to the fact that our society becomes safer as more responsible families own guns.

Nonetheless, gun violence is the third most often reported event by our news media. That rate of reporting is only surpassed by news reports on traffic and the weather. The media almost never reports the daily events where violence is prevented by an armed citizen. It is this constant media bias that is primarily responsible for people believing that gun violence is on the increase.

In my opinion, our most important right, as citizens of the United States, is our constitutionally guaranteed Second Amendment right to own and bear firearms. Throughout recorded history, each and every would-be dictator and despot has first convinced the people to disarm, allegedly in order to make their society a safer and more peaceful place to live. Once they have given up their firearms they have been systematically stripped of all other human rights.

We must not allow glib-speaking politicians, and a complicit news media, to convince us that we are safer without firearms. We are not safer. We are defenseless.

Senator Doug Whitsett is the Republican state senator representing Senate District 28 – Klamath Falls

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Posted by at 05:16 | Posted in 2nd Amendment, CHL, OR 77th Legislative Session | 10 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • JackLordGod

    Human action in the effort to do something when one knows not what to do often is the worst course of action. That is what these bills represent. An attempt to look proactive in the face of a shooting such as the CT school.

    Most of these bills are solutions in search of a problem. For example the CCL on school property issue. Have we had a rash of CCL holders on school property shooting up schools? Nope. Have we had CCL holders brandishing a handgun in outrage at school lunch? Nope. Do we have massive evidence that the gun free school zones approach establishes hunting grounds for maniacs? Absolutely. Anyone who would argue the gun free zone approach works would be called a madman by most. Yet here is some boob proposing an extension of the idea.

    The first bill listed is another example. I have long sense stopped trying to communicate with anyone who uses the term “assault weapon”, clip, or who insists these are military grade weapons. What those terms establish is the persons only familiarity with guns is pointing his finger and saying “bang” in third grade and even that is doubtful. If you want to pass laws on the guns least likely to be used in a crime, based almost entirely on the guns appearance, then you really should be held up to some kind of public ridicule.

    The guy who got the whole “assault weapons” term started was a guy named Josh Sugarman. He misapplied it with the specific intent of confusing the public on the difference between a machine gun and a semi auto. Mr. Sugarman was quite specific in this strategy, make the public think you can just walk in and buy a machine gun by calling these things an assault weapon, then get a blanket ban on assault weapons, now you have just written a law so loose you can ban certainly any semi auto you want, and likely any other gun as well.

    Josh Sugarmans strategy in inventing the misapplied “assault weapon” term was brilliant in that it relied on peoples ignorance. Anti second amendment folks almost by definition have no familiarity with guns and thus could be taught that any schmuck can walk into a store and buy a machine gun in the morning and shoot up a school by lunch time.

    It was a brilliant strategy but it’s gone on long enough. Initially someone could be forgiven for being ignorant. However Josh Sugarmans scam has been going on long enough that for people to have not caught on is willful stupidity. It really is time to start laughing at the “assault weapon” crowd with the same attitude that one would laugh at a tinfoil hat type squirreling his hands together yammering on about Red Chinese plots.

    So – What I do whenever a tinfoil hat type goes on about “assault weapons” I usually ask them if that means they support prison time for Eric “Body Bags” Holder. After all, he knowingly sold them to murderers, and then people got murdered by the hundreds. Usually I get the deer in the headlights look at which point I can just say “You really don’t care about assault weapons do you, you just wanted to care about something, this seemed like a good thing, but you really don’t know what you are talking about….these are not the droids you are looking for”

  • Don’t tread on US

    Oregon Firearms Federation deserves unconditional support if one believes 2nd Amendment rights should not be culled or mitigated further.

  • Ballistic45

    The “Emergency Clause” applied to these Liberal Wet Dream gun grabs to keep the “People” from having a voice on the “Infringements” to their “Right to Bear Arms” should speak volumes to any Liberty loving Patriot.. The truth be told, no gun grabbing legislator wanted their name on a failed gun grabbing bill… It’s all part of Agenda 21 people:

  • Ballistic45

    The “Emergency Clause” applied to these Liberal Wet Dream gun grabs to keep the “People” from having a voice on the “Infringements” to their “Right to Bear Arms” should speak volumes to any Liberty loving Patriot.. The truth be told, no gun grabbing legislator wanted their name on a failed gun grabbing bill… It’s all part of Agenda 21… Learn about it what it really means for you and your family…

  • Testing…

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    • .

      especially 3H’s test-icles

      • giggles

        er, 3H’s attest-icles

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