Concealed Handgun License (CHL) holders privacy bill passes Oregon House today

Rep. Kim Thatcher (R-Keizer), Rep. Jeff Barker (D-Aloha)

(Salem) Concealed Handgun License (CHL) holders would gain new protections under a measure that passed the Oregon House of Representatives today. House Bill 2787 was adopted by a vote of 42 to 18 this morning. The bill prohibits public disclosure of the information contained in CHL records.

The Chief Sponsors of HB 2787 are State Representative Kim Thatcher (R-Keizer,Newberg, St. Paul) and State Representative Jeff Barker (D-Aloha). The pair co-sponsored similar legislation in 2009, but it died in the Oregon Senate.

“Oregon’s public records laws were designed to hold government agencies accountable, not to release all the very personal information on a CHL license application,” said Representative Thatcher. “I’ve heard from many CHL holders who are concerned about their safety if their records are made public. Advocates for disclosure have the misguided notion that releasing CHL records somehow helps the public know who’s carrying a gun. But it’s the bad guys without CHLs they should be worried about.”

“As a retired police officer with over 31 years of law enforcement experience in Oregon, I can tell you that concealed handgun license holders pose no threat to their neighbors,” said Representative Barker. “There is absolutely no need for their license information to be made public.  I am proud to stand with my colleagues, in both parties, in supporting HB 2787.”

This legislation was submitted at the request of the Oregon State Sheriffs’ Association. “For several years Oregon Sheriff’s have faced a dilemma about trying to protect the safety of these concealed handgun license holders, but still being required by law to release this sensitive personal information,” explained Grant County Sheriff Glenn Palmer. “In today’s society where identity theft and other crimes are an everyday occurrence we owe it to these citizens to keep that information from being exploited by criminals.”

“The Oregon House has just taken the first step in protecting the safety and privacy of the Oregon men and women who hold Concealed Handgun Licenses,” note Rod Harder, National Rifle Association Oregon Consultant. “We sincerely hope that the Oregon Senate and the Governor will make the same commitment to our law abiding citizens.

Kevin Starrett, Executive Director of the Oregon Firearms Federation added, “while this is just a step towards correcting a serious breach of privacy for Oregon’s most law abiding gun owners, it is an important advance in the process.”