A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Gun bill’s effect: Nobody knows

Written April 19th, 2017 by Hasso Hering

The Capitol looks pretty no matter what goes on inside.

It would be nice if Oregon legislators insisted on getting some facts instead of voting based on assumptions and emotions, as the Senate Judiciary Committee did on the gun-confiscation bill it passed, 3-2, on Tuesday.

The firearms provisions were stuffed into an unrelated bill, SB 719, which cleared the committee on the votes of its three Democrats. The two Republicans voted no. The bill would authorize judges to order citizens to surrender any firearms they own and not buy new ones for a year if relatives or the police think the citizens are at risk of hurting themselves or others. It’s being billed as a suicide-prevention bill. But it could also be used to try to disarm people with a history of violence who may be a threat to their families or others.

How would this bill work if it becomes a law? Nobody seems to know, at least nobody on the Senate committee or among the many people who testified.

The Legislative Fiscal Office issued a report on the impact of the bill. The impact is “indeterminate,” it says. “The number of protective orders that may be filed with the courts is unknown. Additionally, the number of orders that may need to (be) served and deadly weapons that may need to be seized and retained by the Oregon State Police or other law enforcement entities is unknown.”

California, with a population 10 times as big as Oregon’s, has had a similar law since 2014. So there should be at least some information on how often the law has been used, and how it has worked. But nobody at the legislature bothered to find out. (As for me, I struck out trying to find something on the topic online, but I don’t have the resources of the legislative research staff.)

Maybe these gun-seizure orders — known as “extreme risk protection orders” — will be similar in number to the nearly 10,000 orders issued in 2016 under Oregon’s Family Abuse Protection Act and the 2,700 cases in which “stalking protective orders” were issued.

The Oregon Judicial Department guessed that the gun orders might be 10 percent of that total. If so, Oregon courts might have to order about 1,260 persons a year to hand over their firearms. Or the estimate could be way off, and the number of gun seizures might actually be closer to 12,700, which would be a fairly significant and revolutionary departure in the history of constitutional protections and civil rights.

You’d think legislators would be very interested in the effect of what they enact before they take a vote. But apparently not. (hh)



7 responses to “Gun bill’s effect: Nobody knows”

  1. Warren Beeson says:

    Well, Progressives gotta progress; and the facts seldom matter. Especially if it involves one of their ideological positions. These include of course, guns are bad and gun owners evil; conservatives are racist, etc., etc.; abortion is a right; Christians are ignorant fools; and so on. We can only hope this bill is DOA when it arrives on the legislative floor. Oregon has become a smaller version of the idiocy that is California.

    • John Hartman says:

      Mr. Beeson’s analysis of your typical Reactionary seems pretty much spot on. I didn’t realize how self-reflective Conservatives could be about themselves.

  2. Terry says:

    It will have no effect on crime in any way. This is a gun hater’s dream and just one more tool to circumvent our 2A rights.
    This is unconstitutional.
    Gun haters have no agenda except the elimination of the 2nd amendment. This is just another nail in freedom’s coffin.

  3. Tony White says:

    If they come for my firearms they’d better be armed. Because I will be.

  4. hj.anony1 says:

    Relax “Gun Nutz”. Firearms are not going anywhere. They are so deeply ingrained into American life.

    I simply wish you all would care as much about other amendments as you do about the 2nd. Try the 1st or maybe the 10th. The latter especially when thinking about government overreach. State’s rights….right?

  5. Jason says:

    Pro 2nd Amendment people are so obsessed with guns and their “rights” they don’t care if their rights trample on the rights of so many others. Quick to point out why this or that won’t work, but don’t provide solutions.
    What will help solve the mental health issues? Don’t bring a problem without a set of solutions, and this solution is going to take everybody getting involved.
    You want your guns? Fine, but get involved and help solve the mental health crisis in this county.
    You can disparage each other and throw jabs, but you are now part of the problem.
    Restricting people with mental health histories is a logical step, how to implement that? I am not sure. However we shouldn’t stop trying something and allow for continued needless deaths and crisis.
    And for every one of you 2nd Amendment supporters, you better have your guns locked up and secure, responsible gun ownership is one of the answers in preventing shootings.


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