Lawmakers send controversial gun and immigration bills to governor – KATU

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Oregon State Capitol – KATU photo by Kellee Azar.

In the waning hours of this year’s legislative session, Oregon lawmakers sent a flurry of bills to the governor on Thursday for her signature.

Two of those included a bill to protect the privacy of immigrants and to keep guns out of the hands of those who are in a mental health crisis.

The House gave final approval to Senate Bill 719, which will prohibit people from possessing guns or other dangerous weapons when a court finds they are at risk of hurting themselves or others. It will also require them to surrender weapons and concealed handgun licenses.

Under the bill, law enforcement and families will be able to petition the court to allow action to be taken.

“People who are thinking of killing themselves or harming others often show signs or declare their intentions well before committing the act. The first people to see those signs are often family members,” said Joanne Skirving, president of Ceasefire Oregon in a statement.

Gun rights supporters said it puts too much power in the hands of people who aren’t mental health professionals.

Gov. Kate Brown is expected to sign the bill into law.

Lawmakers also approved House Bill 3464. The bill will allow public bodies to keep information about a person’s citizenship or immigration status private unless ordered by a court or required by law. It will also prohibit them from disclosing to federal authorities such things as a person’s address, workplace, school or contact information.

Democrats said the bill will “strengthen privacy protections for vulnerable populations.”

“It is unthinkable that people living in this state would be living in fear simply because of their citizenship status,” said Sen. Ginny Burdick, D-Portland. “This will create consistency statewide in how government agencies respond to federal requests for information. It will provide greater stability for immigrant families in our state, who now will have less to fear.”

Republicans, however, blasted the bill, saying it will keep people from helping law enforcement and will make Oregon less safe.

“This bill is all about the ‘undocumented,’ and while it serves as a symbol for the Left, it is in reality a shield for criminal aliens to avoid justice,” said state Sen. Alan Olsen, R-Canby. “Democrats have used the politics of fear to ignite division and they have stoked fear in the hearts of undocumented workers. Making it possible for criminal aliens to evade justice not only makes Oregonians less safe, it also puts undocumented immigrants in danger.”