Second Amendment activists in Oregon are pulling out all the stops this weekend as a final vote on Senate Bill 941, the so-called “universal background check” measure that many consider a clone of neighboring Washington’s Initiative 594, is apparently coming Monday on the House floor, according to a report from the National Rifle Association.
It is not likely that these activists will be distracted by yesterday’s 57-1 Oregon House vote approving a concealed carry reciprocity measure, according to the Daily Astorian. It’s a step in the right direction, say some gun owners, but it still faces passage by the Senate, where the majority already approved SB 941. Who is going to believe that the House reciprocity vote makes them all good guys? The SB 941 vote could be the acid test south of the Columbia River.
I-594 is the 18-page gun control measure passed by voters last November following an overpowering $10.2 million campaign by the Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility (WAGR), with heavy support from a handful of elitist billionaires and Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety. Law enforcement agencies have declined to enforce the measure’s “transfer” provisions, and even the Washington State Patrol said in December that they weren’t certain they could prove transfers of firearms at an Olympia demonstration violated the law.
In Oregon, the situation is different. Instead of a public initiative campaign, legislation is on a fast track in Salem. But earlier this week, Klamath County Sheriff Frank Skrah issued a statement quoted in its entirety by KTVZ News that may loosen a rail.
In that statement, the sheriff said SB 941 “appears to be nothing more than a further infringement upon those who wish to exercise their Second Amendment Rights.”
“Some may disagree with me, but I feel ‘Big Brother’ need not know who owns a firearm,” Sheriff Skrah continued. “There are those in both state and federal government service who want that information and the compiling of information as to who owns a gun is not doing the peoples work.”
And he added this: “If I sell or give a gun to my neighbor should I or my neighbor be subject to a background check? My answer to that rhetorical question is a very firm NO!”
However, lawmakers have ignored lawmen in the past when they were determined to pass gun control measures. It happened in Colorado in 2013, and it happened last fall when anti-gun politicians ignored the fact that a majority of county sheriffs in Washington opposed I-594. Police and sheriffs are only useful for photo-op props, standing in the background, it seems.
This effort is shifting into high gear today when local and national news is likely to be dominated by coverage of “May Day” protests in Portland, Seattle and elsewhere. Capitol telephones in Salem could be overloaded, as the NRA even provided a link to legislative contacts.
If the legislation fails in Oregon, don’t expect the issue to go away. The gun prohibition lobby wants the entire West Coast to be one big California in terms of gun control. I-594 is currently being challenged by a federal lawsuit spearheaded by the Second Amendment Foundation, whose sister organization, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, last year was part of the effort to stop the gun control scheme and offer up an alternative.
Passage of I-594 has emboldened anti-gunners. Adoption of a gun control measure in Oregon will only add momentum to their effort to turn gun ownership into a heavily-regulated privilege.
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