When considering states with lots of unjust, unconstitutional anti-gun laws, California, New Jersey and New York nearly always come to mind. But if some anti-gun Oregon politicians get their way, the Beaver State will rank right up there with those historical gun-ban locales.
Last fall, Oregon voters passed Measure 114, one of the most-restrictive gun-control packages ever considered in nearly any state. Fortunately, an NRA-backed lawsuit was quickly filed, and the state then determined implementation of that initiative should be delayed.
Not to be dissuaded, anti-gun members of the Oregon legislature decided to fold the same restrictions from Measure 114 into a bill and put it before state lawmakers. Now under consideration, S.B. 348 is not just as bad as the initiative, but goes even further.
In a nutshell, the measure bans magazines that hold more than 10 rounds, requires citizens to take mandatory training and pay a substantial fee (higher than what was in Measure 114) to get a required permit to purchase a firearm; plus, it creates a state registry of gun owners. It also discriminates against adults aged 18-20 by denying them Second Amendment rights, and increases arbitrary delays before citizens can exercise their rights. Implementation would be a disaster for Oregon gun owners, now and in the future.
For a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing set for March 27, two Republican members of the committee—Sens. Dennis Linthicum and Kim Thatcher—asked Dr. John Lott, president of the Crime Prevention Research Center, to serve as their expert witness for the committee hearing.
Surprisingly, after making most of the 10-hour drive from his home in Missoula, Mont., to Salem, Ore., Lott was informed after midnight on the morning of the hearing, while he was still on his way, that Committee Chairman Floyd Prozanski (D) would not allow him to be the Republicans’ expert witness. Instead, Lott would have just two minutes to address the 64-page measure.
Undaunted, Lott drove on to the state capital and made very good use of his two minutes.
“There’s no serious cost-benefit analysis that I’ve seen of this law,” he told the committee members. “My concern is that the net effect is going to actually be harmful to people. If my research convinces me of anything, the people who benefit the most from owning guns are the most vulnerable people in our society. They tend to be the people who are most likely victims of violent crime, and overwhelmingly tend to be poor blacks who live in high-crime areas and people who are relatively weak physically, like women and the elderly.”
Because of that, Lott said, the cost to citizens to become licensed to own and carry a gun would be substantial and prohibitive.
“The cost of the permits here is $150, but that is only going to be part of the cost,” he said. “Looking at other states that have concealed-carry permit training requirements, my guess is the cost will be $200 or more for the training. So, you’re talking about $350 or more to get the permit to own a gun. If you add it with the recent increases in concealed-carry permits that you had last year, you’re talking about nearly $500 for somebody to be able to go and get a gun and carry it.
“Who do you think you’re stopping? You’re not stopping wealthy whites who may live in the suburbs. You’re going to be stopping the very people who need guns the most for protection—poor blacks who live in high-crime urban areas.”
Lott was promptly cut off after two minutes by Prozanski, who then chose to not allow any questioning by committee members. When another person set to testify before the committee asked if he could give Lott his two minutes, the committee chairman curtly refused.
“It’s kind of strange that the Democrats wouldn’t let the Republicans pick who they wanted to have as their ‘expert,’” Lott, who has testified many times before legislative committees, said later in an exclusive interview with America’s 1st Freedom. “They wouldn’t let anybody ask any questions of me, which is something very unusual. I haven’t seen that happen before.”
The shenanigans at the hearing made it quite obvious that the anti-gun lawmakers pushing the anti-gun measure only want one side of the issue to be heard—their side. While the NRA continues to fight the legislation, opponents face an uphill battle. Both the House and Senate are controlled by gun-control proponents, and Gov. Tina Kotek (D) is also a supporter of the measure.