State lawmakers hold hearings on gun control measures – News & Observer

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Oregon lawmakers held their first hearings Monday on several gun control proposals, taking passionate testimony from backers and opponents.

The proposals are less wide-ranging than a 2015 expansion of gun sale background checks, The Register-Guard reported (https://goo.gl/SgU7Uo).

Senate Bill 797 would require a background check actually be completed before a gun sale could be made. Current law says that if the Oregon State Police are unable to complete a background check within three days, a gun dealer may proceed with the sale.

Senate Bill 868 would allow someone to seek an extreme risk protection order for an immediate family member believed to be a suicide risk or a threat to others. If granted, the person would have to surrender guns and ammunition and would be barred from buying a gun for a year.

Senate Bill 764 makes an assortment of changes in gun laws, including that a person must take an in-person shooting training course, not an online-only class, to obtain a concealed handgun permit.

Democratic Gov. Kate Brown, a strong proponent of gun control, remembered the Umpqua Community College and Clackamas Town Center shootings in her testimony supporting the bills. Brown called the legislation an effort to close loopholes in Oregon’s gun laws.

“These bills focus on ensuring that people who should not have guns because of prior convictions, a violent past or in instances of extreme mental crisis do not have easy access to firearms,” she said.

While Republican lawmakers rarely support new gun control proposals, Republican Sen. Brian Boquist of Dallas, whose stepson killed himself last year, threw his support behind the measure that would allow an extreme risk protection order to be sought.

“What we’re trying to do is provide the best course of action that will allow families a chance to help prevent their veterans and other family members from killing themselves, prevent suicide by cop and, worse, killing family members in desperation,” he said.

Gun rights advocates called the bill an overreach.

Irene Gilbert, who owns a gun store in La Grande, said she objects to the fact that a judge would make the decision on whether to grant the extreme risk protection order, not a mental health professional.

National Rifle Association lobbyist Keely Hopkins said the “extreme protection order” could be obtained “based on third-party allegations with a low evidentiary standard.”

Hopkins also objected to the bill requiring a background check be completed before a sale, which she said could mean indefinite delays to potential gun purchases.