In April of 2015, the Oregon Legislature (minus ALL Republicans in the House and Senate) passed Senate Bill 941, the Universal Background Check. There were many reasons to oppose this bill but one of the most obvious was: “unintended consequences”. For instance: I testified in committee and on the House floor about how a woman in my district was being threatened by her ex-husband, so she wanted to purchase a gun but didn’t necessarily want it stored in her home. The bill (now law) would only allow her to transfer that gun for safe keeping to a relative’s house without having a background check done. She could not transfer it to her best friend’s home without a background check being performed. I thought that that was very wrong and eventually would lead to a law abiding citizen actually breaking this new law by in fact handing over his or her gun to a trusted friend for safekeeping without doing a background check on that friend.
Here Sheriff Tim Svenson of Yamhill County testifies on this very issue back in April of 2015:
Well guess what? It’s happened. As you may have heard, a pastor from Lake Oswego won an AR15 in a raffle. He had announced ahead of the raffle that he was going to win the rifle and have it melted down and made into art. I have no problem with that, it’s free speech and his constitutional right. Where it went wrong was the “unintended consequences” I spoke of earlier. He passed the background check but, not wanting to keep the rifle at home, gave it to a “trusted friend with a gun safe” for safekeeping. They did NOT do a background check. That is breaking the law.
Read the latest on this story from KGW HERE.
Since 99.9999% of Oregonians have no idea how this law works, I would think the pastor, after having the law described to him, would have said “hey I was wrong, I was ignorant of the law, I’m taking the gun back” or “I’ll have the background check done on my friend” and that would be the end of the story. No, instead, he not only broke the law but doubled down by saying “it’s nobody’s business where the gun is”. Actually sir, it is.
One of the strongest proponents of the law, Sen. Ginny Burdick, stated last night “that’s not what we intended” when writing and passing this law. She meant “not transfer to felons”. And THAT is why I have a problem! We told her and her colleagues that this would happen. Why then didn’t they write that into the law as we the Republicans asked? How hard would that have been? This pastor would have then been covered!
I am asking the Clackamas County DA to prosecute this pastor under the law created by SB941. The Oregon State Police force is currently investigating the situation but ultimately it will be up to the Clackamas DA. I realize that this is an ABSOLUTE waste of the taxpayer’s money and I think it’s “frivolous” but it must happen to set an example. Again, the pastor could easily say “I didn’t know” and hand the rifle over or have the additional background check done.
I hate this law…it’s ridiculous and saves NO lives but instead, just as in the case of this pastor, hurts innocent, law abiding citizens. BUT as long as it IS the law, it MUST be enforced completely!
To Oregon Democrats who passed this bill into law: will you be so bold as to recognize that the law is not only wrong but as we pointed out multiple times, it’s “unenforceable” and hurts law abiding citizens? I’m waiting…….
Here is the video from my time on the House floor on SB941:
I should have included Rep. Gail Whitsett’s floor speech from the SB 941 debate in 2015. She nailed the problem that is what the “priest” story is all about. Representative Gail Whitsett’s video is definitely worth a watch (even though you have to wade through the painfully awkward responses of the House Majority Leader at first). Whitsett’s examples of what she and her husband would have to do to leave their guns with a friend for safe keeping each session to comply with the law are incredible – and exactly what the priest was doing when he gave the rifle to the “responsible gun owner” for safe keeping – that Sen. Ginny Burcick now says is a good idea and prosecution would violate the “spirit of the law!”