While gun rights activists across the country have been focusing considerable attention on the war being waged against Washington state gun owners, because that state is something of a “test tube” for gun control schemes, there’s a second front in the effort to erode the Second Amendment going on south of the Columbia River in neighboring Oregon.
Perhaps the most onerous of these is SB 501 sponsored by a pair of Lake Oswego Democrats – State Sen. Rob Wagner and State Rep. Andrea Salinas – that would require a person to secure a permit before purchasing or otherwise receiving a firearm. This was legislation submitted at the request of the anti-gun Students for Change. The Oregon Firearms Federation (OFF) declared this bill to be “the most extreme” of the anti-gun measures so far before lawmakers in Salem, and the group maintains a roundup of all gun-related bills introduced in Salem.
Under provisions of SB 501, receipt of a firearm without a valid permit could land someone in jail for up to 364 days, and impose a fine of up to $6,250. Failure to secure a firearm with a cable or trigger lock, or in a locked box, could result in 30 days behind bars and a $1,250 fine.
But the most alarming tenet of the bill is a restriction on the amount of ammunition someone can purchase in any 30-day period. SB 501 would limit someone to getting 20 rounds a month. Critics say this ammunition limit is nonsense, as it would effectively preclude practice for competitors, and would be a burden on hunters, especially those who hunt waterfowl or upland birds.
The bill also “Prohibits transfer of firearm by gun dealer or private party until latter of 14 days or Department of State Police has determined that recipient is qualified to receive firearm.”
Then comes SB 87, which would raise the minimum limit at which someone can purchase a firearm to 21 years of age.
Anti-gun Democrat Gov. Kate Brown requested HB 2251, which defines an “assault rifle.” The definition is hardly as sweeping as the one adopted by voters in neighboring Washington last fall with passage of Initiative 1639, but it specifies scores of firearms that would be prohibited. OFF says on its website that the bill “defines ‘assault weapons’ as any long gun you can hold with two hands.” It also would prevent transfer of a handgun or an “assault rifle” to anyone under age 21.
HB 2251 also requires a gun dealer “to post notice concerning obligation to prevent minors from accessing firearm without consent of minor’s parent or guardian.”
Another measure, HB 2546, would create a credit against the personal income tax “for (the) cost of (a) criminal history record check required by state law for the transfer of a firearm.” The bill, sponsored by Monmouth Democrat Rep. Paul Evans, would apply to tax years beginning this year.
Beaver State gun owners dodged the proverbial bullet last year when an initiative effort to completely ban so-called “assault rifles” was derailed. But a new version has been refiled as IP 16.
Meanwhile, the fight over enforcement of anti-gun I-1639 now has about 20 county sheriffs declining to enforce the new law on the grounds that it is unconstitutional and unenforceable. However, the drama has taken on a sinister aspect with the posting of actual threats on social media to kill sheriffs that do not enforce the law. Singled out for special attention is Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich, who told reporters this week that information about the threats has been turned over to the Joint Terrorism Task Force.
There can be no doubt that the Evergreen State has become the petri dish for gun control experimentation, especially since Seattle Times columnist Danny Westneat acknowledged as much in a piece published back on Dec. 7, 2018. But the experimentation appears to have crossed the Columbia River and spread up the Willamette River Valley to the Oregon state capitol.