PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Three new bills that would strengthen gun background checks and make it possible for law enforcement to take guns away from people with mental health issues will be introduced in the Oregon Senate on Monday.
There’s already high interest in the bills — SB 764, SB 797 and SB 868 — and there’s expected to be a big turnout for public testimony on both sides.
SB 797 aims to close what’s known as the “Charleston Loophole” in reference to Dylann Roof, who reportedly obtained a gun he wasn’t supposed to be able to purchase and used it to kill parishioners in a South Carolina Church.
Most background checks for potential gun buyers come back within the same day, but some take longer so the FBI can further investigate the person’s eligibility.
If the background check doesn’t come back within 3 days, licensed dealers can go ahead and sell the gun anyway, without seeing the FBI’s results.
But under SB 797, they wouldn’t be able to do that any longer. Instead, the customer would either have to wait for the background check to come back, or go to a local law enforcement office to prove they have a clean record.
The second bill, SB 764, would require anyone seeking a concealed weapons permit to take a written test and prove they know how to operate and shoot a gun.
SB 868 would let law enforcement take guns away from people convicted of stalking. It would also let concerned family members go to court to try and take guns away from a loved one, if they can prove that loved one is a risk to themselves or others.
KOIN 6 News learned each of the 3 bills has bipartisan support in the Oregon legislature, and many local gun rights advocates are also on board. But sponsors say the bills are not meant to take guns away from law abiding citizens.
“We are working on a number of different ways to protect our communities and make them safer, including letting legislation strengthen our background check system, as well as giving means to family members and law enforcement to intervene when someone is in crisis,” Jake Weigler with the Oregon Alliance for Gun Safety said.
The Oregon Firearm Federation released statements opposing all 3 bills:
Of SB 764: “Make no mistake, this bill has one goal; to eliminate concealed carry and pay off anti-gun New York billionaires who are bankrolling anti-gun legislators.”
Of SB 797: “It makes no sense to delay, indefinitely, a transfer to a qualified buyer simply because OSP cannot correctly do their job. This is especially true in cases where the firearms dealer knows the buyer personally and knows he or she is qualify”
Of SB 868: “The bill provides exactly no help for a person who is a danger to themselves and no protection for any family member who is in danger from the person whose rights will be taken. If the person who loses his or her rights is really dangerous, nothing in this bill addresses that danger.”