Oregon Dems Still Pushing Gun Control, Hearings Wednesday
Oregon’s Democrat-dominated Legislature will hold “informational hearings” on three different gun control bills Wednesday with not a single Republican signing on as a co-sponsor, according to OregonLive, but a little homework reveals the real crime problem in the Beaver State: Portland.
According to the report, “In 2020, 593 Oregonians died from homicide or suicide by firearms, state data shows. Of those, 110 cases involved homicide, up from 78 in 2019.”
However, digging back into history, one finds this OregonLive story from January 2021: “The last time Portland recorded as many was in 1994, when there also were 55 homicides, according to police.
“It remains to be seen if the trend will continue now as it did in the early 1990s, when there were 50 killings in 1991, 46 in 1992 and 54 in 1993. The 2020 count is still far below the peak of 70 that the city reached in 1987. The victims last year ranged in age from 8 months to 71 years old. Most were men. Forty-one of the killings resulted from shootings (emphasis added).”
Translation: Just under 40 percent of all the homicides committed in Oregon with firearms in 2020 occurred in Portland, the state’s “nerve center” for all things “far left,” i.e. liberal social policies. That was the year of the protests ignited by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Kevin Starrett, founder and head of the Oregon Firearms Federation, told Ammoland via email that he will be testifying on the three measures, and that, “We have been given 20 minutes for all three bills.”
Up for hearing are these three measures, according to the Oregon Capital Chronicle:
- House Bill 2005 is aimed at criminalizing so-called “ghost guns.” It defines “undetectable firearm” and punishes manufacturing, importing, offering for sale or transferring undetectable firearm by maximum of 10 years’ imprisonment, $250,000 fine, or both
- House Bill 2006 would raise the minimum age for purchasing a firearm from 18 to 21 years. There are exceptions for guns used for hunting and for people younger than 21 who are in the military or police officers.
- House Bill 2007 “Authorizes governing bodies of certain public entities that own or control public buildings to adopt a policy, ordinance or regulation, or precluding affirmative defense for possession of firearms in public building and adjacent grounds by concealed handgun licensees.”
The report says HB 2005 is up for a vote next Tuesday, March 28.
A statement from House Republican Leader Vikki Breese-Iverson (R-Prineville) perhaps best underscores the divide between the GOP and Democrats, and not just in Oregon.
“Our caucus’ purview as it relates to firearms is as follows: House Republicans will always fight for the constitutionally protected rights of law abiding gun owners in Oregon,” she said. “As we continue to wade through this legislation, our position will remain that law abiding gun owners should not be punished for the actions of criminals.”
Democrats, meanwhile, are keen on penalizing all gun owners with so-called “gun reform” measures, a pattern one finds by looking across the Columbia River to Olympia, Washington, where the Democrat-controlled Legislature is also pushing ahead with gun control measures.
The prevailing mentality might best be exemplified by a quote from State Rep. Lillian Ortiz-Self (21st District), who appeared with her fellow Democrats recently at a “Townhall” gathering in Edmonds. According to My Edmonds News, this is what she said, referring to her party’s current crusade to pass more gun restrictions, including a 10-day waiting period.
“I do not want to take guns away,” she reportedly stated. “This is not about taking guns away; it’s about promoting safety. Let’s be practical — is it too much to ask legitimate gun owners to wait 10 days to help keep guns out of the hands of someone making a rash decision out of emotions of the moment?”
The answer from Evergreen State Second Amendment advocates might be a very loud “yes,” followed by an admonition that the bills do not necessarily need to “take guns away,” but just make it impossibly restrictive to own a gun. Delaying everyone’s exercise of a constitutionally-protected fundamental right on the presumption it might prevent one individual from “making a rash decision” seems questionable.
Last week, the Washington Department of Licensing advised Ammoland News there are now at least 698,929 active concealed pistol licenses in the state, up more than 1,200 from the 697,690 on March 1. If the count keeps climbing, it is possible that by month’s end, the number will have reached 700,000 active CPLs, which may be one reason the effort to repeal state preemption in Washington once again appears to have failed this year.
Meanwhile, back on the south side of the Columbia River, anti-gun-rights Measure 114 is still tied up in the state and federal courts. Four federal lawsuits—including two involving the Second Amendment Foundation—are essentially on hold while Harney County Circuit Judge Robert Raschio still holds the reins in the state-level challenge of that narrowly-passed initiative.
About Dave Workman
Dave Workman is a senior editor at TheGunMag.com and Liberty Park Press, author of multiple books on the Right to Keep & Bear Arms, and formerly an NRA-certified firearms instructor.