Salem gun proposals prompt Redmond dealer reaction

Bills debated in Salem as deadline looms

Heated gun bills discussed in Salem

REDMOND, Ore. - There was passionate testimony in Salem on Monday for and against two controversial gun bills as others watched the action, including a Redmond gun dealer. 

The proposals with hearings held Monday are less wide-ranging than a 2015 expansion of gun sale background checks.

Senate Bill 797 would require a background check actually be completed before a gun sale could be made.

Senate Bill 868 would allow someone to seek a protection order for an immediate family member believed to be a suicide risk or a threat to others. If granted, the person would have to surrender guns and ammunition and would be prohibited from buying a gun for a year.

Senate Bill 764 makes an assortment of gun law changes, including that a person must take an in-person shooting training course to obtain a concealed handgun permit.

Senate Bill 797 would allow Oregon State Police to delay the purchase of a gun indefinitely, if the criminal background check isn't finished. Currently, three days are allow for a background check to clear in Oregon, and if it doesn't clear, gun sellers can resume the sale.

Larry Myers, the owner of Redmond Black Rifle, said he understands this measure because of the liability reasons.

"I don't hand them over, because I can be held liable if there is a problem down the road with that individual," Myers said. "I want to sleep at night, because I know I sold guns to people who are lawfully allowed (to have them)."

Penny Okamota, director of Ceasefire Oregon, said if this legislation had been the law in South Carolina, it would have prevented the Charleston church shooting in 2015 that killed nine people.

"Dylann Roof bought a gun, and his background check took longer than three days," she said. "But the gun seller went ahead and sold it to him anyways, which is perfectly legal, and that's how he got his gun."

Another controversial bill before Oregon lawmakers would require a person to undergo live fire training in order to receive a concealed handgun license, something Myers finds absolutely unnecessary.

"What mass shooting, or even semi-mass shooting, has involved a concealed carry?" he asked. 

Myers added, "These are people who are taking the time to do it legally.  Now there are probably going to be exceptions, but for the most part, I don't believe for a second that this is the problem." 

Okamoto, however said there should be some sort of increased expectation for these license holders.

"People who have concealed handgun licenses are supposed to be held to a higher standards," she said. "They're supposed to be the best of the best, so to give such a privilege on people who have never even touched a gun is ridiculous."

Another part of a bill would require a person at risk of suicide to hand over their guns if family members seek a court order.

And another bill, targeting domestic violence, would bar anyone under a restraining order from a family member from possessing a gun.

On Tuesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee will decide whether to send the bills to the full Senate for a vote, or to forward them to another committee for consideration later in the session. Tuesday is the deadline for getting bills out of committee for potential approval.

Our new KTVZ.COM Poll asks your views about whether gun dealers should have to wait for background checks after three days in order to sell a gun. You can find it halfway down the right side of our home page.

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