(Salem) Hoping the third time is a charm, State Representative Kim Thatcher (R-Keizer, Newberg, St. Paul) carried House Bill 4045 to victory on the floor of the Oregon House today. The measure, which would make the records of Concealed Handgun License (CHL) holders confidential, passed by a vote of 44 to 14 and now goes to the Oregon Senate.
HB 4045 has three other Co-Chief Sponsors in addition to Representative Thatcher. They include State Representatives Jeff Barker (D-Aloha), Val Hoyle (D-West Eugene) and Wayne Krieger (R-Gold Beach).
Barker and Krieger are the Co-Chairmen of the House Judiciary Committee which worked on the legislation.
During debate on the House Floor Thatcher explained that many constituents fear for their personal safety if the information on the CHL applications is released to the public. One such constituent contacted Thatcher’s office and said “she is now too afraid to even get a concealed handgun license because she doesn’t want her stalker to go down to the sheriff’s office and get what she called a road map to find her.” That constituent submitted testimony to the House Judiciary Committee in which she pointed out releasing the information, “shifts the focus from oversight of government performance to use of the public records law as a tool to gather and use personal, private citizen information for nongovernmental uses.”
“We as a state and a government have a responsibility to protect the privacy of our citizens,” said Representative Hoyle. “We should be very careful about who we allow to have access to people’s private information.”
Representative Barker noted CHL holders are law abiding citizens undergo a background check and take other steps to obtain a CHL and they are not the problem. “They’re not the gang bangers from Portland. They’re not the criminal element, which by the way are already carrying their weapons concealed illegally. These are your friends, your neighbors, who for whatever reason decided they wanted to be able to carry a weapon for personal protection and they deserve to have their privacy protected.”
A similar measure (House Bill 2727) was approved 54-4 in the House in 2009. Last year, legislation that was almost identical (House Bill 2787) to the year’s bill was adopted 42-18 by the House. Oregonians who want to share their views on this issue are encouraged to contact the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Floyd Prozanski at 503.986.1704 [email protected] or Senate President Peter Courtney at 503.986.1600 [email protected].