(Meeting with 5th graders from Oak Grove)
(Meeting with Environment Oregon on Lobby Day)
(Meeting with students for the Area Health Education Center Lobby Day)
Did you know?
The Firearms Instant Check System (FICS) runs background checks on individuals trying to purchase a gun. FICS is operated by the Oregon State Police (OSP) and in 2014 they recorded the following data;
- Total number of transactions...233,878
- Total number of denials...1,590 (0.68%)
- Total number of delays...8,010 (3.42%)
Earlier this week, SB 941, sponsored by Senator Floyd Prozanski, D-Eugene, passed the Senate on a 17-13 vote. On April 15th, the bill was referred to the House Committee on Rules and has yet to be scheduled for a public hearing. I'm sure many of you are aware that this measure expands the current law to include background checks of a private gun transfer.
Unfortunately, the majority party pushed the controversial handgun bill through the Senate. In the 2013 and 2014 sessions, similar measure were blocked with the help of Senator Betsy Johnson, D-Scappoose, who joined all 12 Republicans in voting against this measure.
Under SB 941, Oregon would become the 12th state to require background checks on firearm sales and transfers between private individuals. What I do find interesting is that Oregon already requires an individual who buys a firearm at a gun show to submit to a background check. Felons, domestic violence offenders and those committed for mental health treatment are prohibited from holding guns.
Advocates of SB 941 believe the measure will close a loophole that has allowed criminals to easily purchase funds from individuals, particularly those who may advertise on the internet.
I believe the law will be difficult to enforce and I'm not convinced it will do anything to reduce crime. The law will likely pose a major burden on gun owners by forcing them to pay unnecessary fees for background checks. Locally, handgun dealers are considering charging the standard $35.00 transfer fee which includes the $10.00 fee to Oregon State Police.
Exemptions include transfers of firearms by or to a police agency, private security company, members of the U.S. military, between spouses, domestic partners, other immediate relatives, the transfer of guns resulting from the death of a firearms owner involving a gun turn-in or buy-back program.
Questions that have not been answered:
- How is the law going to be enforced?
- Who is paying for the enforcement?
- Will this law require OSP to hire additional call takers?
As you can see, FICS is extremely busy and already struggles with adequate funding. I fear this law will hinder law abiding citizens.
Until next week,