When last we heard of four Oregon bills intended to trouble or punish gun owners, the bills had been sent to the Senate Rules Committee because they lacked the votes to pass the Senate as a whole. On Monday they remained stuck in the committee, where Senate President Peter Courtney hoped a deal could be reached to pass them.
The Oregon Firearms Federation reported earlier that the anti-gun campaign funded by Mayor Bloomberg of New York was working on legislators, presumably hoping to apply pressure to opponents of these bills.
One of the measures, Senate Bill 700, would penalize private citizens if they transfer a firearm without first obtaining a criminal background check on the buyer. On Monday morning the state police reported that the National Instant Check System was out of action. No one could buy a gun from a licensed dealer until the service was restored at about 9:30 a.m. It was a reminder of the power the background check requirement gives the government over a constitutionally protected right.
Monday’s shutdown of the instant background check system was accidental. If the system is ever shut down intentionally, as federal officials might some day be tempted to do if political corruption gets to them, the administration could stop legal gun sales regardless of what state or federal lawmakers say. (hh)