by Kevin Starrett
Two concealed handgun license (CHL) bills were passed out of committee to the full House floor: HB 2787 and HB 2792.
HB 2787 is the House version of a bill that protects the privacy of concealed handgun license holders. A similar bill has been heard in the Senate and is scheduled to receive a work session on March 14th.
This common sense legislation is the work of House Rep Kim Thatcher, and is a long overdue recognition that the personal information of CHL holders should not be available to newspapers or people running marketing campaigns.
In 2009, this bill was shot down through the actions of House Rep Judy Stiegler of Bend. Oddly, during the work session on this bill, Stiegler was lurking in the audience.
The reason this was odd is, because of the actions of gun owners, Steigler was “retired” from public office in the last election. She has now returned to “private practice” and is not a legislator.
Any reasonable observer would have concluded that Steigler’s presence should serve as a reminder to other legislators that making a career out of gun control is not a good way to get re-elected outside of the most knee-jerk, liberal districts in this state. But, three members of the committee chose anti-gun zealotry over experience and voted to keep CHL holder’s private information available to any vulture who wanted it. They were Chris Garrett, Mary Nolan and Carolyn Tomei.
Fortunately, the committee has enough members who recognize how foolish and dangerous handing out private info to anyone is, and the bill passed out of committee.
HB 2792 recognizes other states’ handgun permits which will help Oregonians by having our permits accepted in more states. This would bring Oregon in line with most states which accept many permits. Oregon accepts only Oregon permits and does not even allow non-residents to apply for one unless they live in an adjoining state.
Once again, Garrett, Nolan and Tomei voted “NO” for gun rights, but were overruled by the majority of the committee and the bill passed out to the floor.
There was an amendment added to 2792, and while it did not hurt the bill, it did demonstrate how far we are from a “transparent” process.
At “work sessions” public testimony is typically NOT taken. That usually has already happened at the hearing. But at work sessions, amendments can be adopted that the public does not get to see until after they have been approved and made part of the bill. In this case, even the people in the room, including the bill’s sponsor, Kim Thatcher, had no idea what was in the amendments that were approved until after the bill was voted to the floor. While the amendments in question do not appear to be a problem, it is an indication of something very wrong with the system. Private CHL info is currently public, but changes made to proposed legislation are secret!