The temperature is hot among the grassroots
In case you haven't been paying attention, let's bring you up to speed. So far, SB 554
is to be combined with HB 2510
to create one bill that would restrict Concealed Handgun License holders from carrying in public buildings, including the Capitol and commercial airports as well as mandate some safe storage policies. Both bills survived mostly intact -- with a few fixes and changes around the edges. One of the major changes is that there are no longer any felonies defined in the bill, which is good, but hardly and adequate consolation prize to people who are passionate about their gun rights.
When SB 554
passed the Senate, the Republican caucus was split over whether to walk out on the bill and deny a quorum. Six of the 12 caucus members walked out, that wasn't enough to deny quorum, so the bill passed, though it was valiantly fought on the floor. All Republicans in attendance voted against the bill.
Firearms advocates -- feeling betrayed -- launched a recall campaign against Senate Republican Leader Fred Girod (R-Lyons). Analysts see an uphill battle, for several reasons. COVID-19 restrictions make signature gathering tough. And Girod is fairly popular in his district. Other recent recalls have failed to even get on the ballot. Even if it gets on the ballot, the voters of his district have to decide that his "no" vote and vigorous objection on the floor wasn't enough.
The bill then moved over to the House where it sat on the desk of House Speaker Tina Kotek (D-Portland) for a week, which is unusual. Insiders surmise that she was working on the combination and securing Senate support for the firearm storage restrictions contained in HB 2510
. It's now being heard in the House Committee on Rules, where the combined bill is expected to emerge.
It's an understatement to say that the temperature is hot among the grassroots. Understandably, they see walkouts as effective and the political price paid for doing so is slim or non-existent. When SB 554
was heard in committee in the end of February, the end of the session in late June seemed far off and a prolonged walkout seemed difficult. As the end of the session gets closer, these options get easier.
Legislators who are being asked to walk out -- and being chided for not doing so -- have pushed back noting that while it's useful and appropriate to fight legislation during the session, if one party has control, leverage and options are limited. They've called for Second Amendment activists to engage more in elections. Even a few seats could make a difference on this kind of legislation.
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
The combined bill is not helpful. CHL holders protect themselves and others when police are unavailable. Opponents of these concepts correctly point out that these policies will create an opportunity to make criminals out of law-abiding citizens, though in the amended bill it will no longer make them felons. Not to minimize this, but these concepts are about making it less convenient to carry. They don't take away your right to bear arms -- well, mostly.
Ironically, as Second Amendment activists celebrated the six Senators who "walked out" on the day that SB 554
had a vote on the Senate floor, that "walkout" was symbolic and everyone was back the next day with the bill passed and on to the House.
For further irony, in the 2017 session, SB 719
, was introduced by Senator Brian Boquist (R-Dallas). On the heels of the tragic suicide of his step-son, he authored a bill to allow, what many claim is a law without sufficient due-process protections, allowing a police officer or someone close to the person -- a jilted ex-girlfriend comes to mind -- to present a case to a judge, in which the subject is not invited to defend themselves, and upon a favorable ruling, requires the police to seize all firearms from the subject. And just like that, your ex-girlfriend or ex-wife has cancelled hunting season for you.
The compound irony is that Senator Boquist is now one of the celebrated Senators who staged a symbolic one-day walkout, while SB 554
The level of seriousness between SB 554
combined with HB 2510
and SB 719
is huge. Losing hunting season because your ex-girlfriend complains to a judge is bad enough. When they decide that you should no longer have guns, all it takes is one corrupt police officer and one corrupt judge in possession of the Oregon Firearms Federation mailing list, and you have a legal
gun seizure program.
If Senator Girod is worthy of a recall, after voting no on SB 554
and fighting it on the floor, why does Senator Boquist get a pass on SB 719
Senator Boquist was re-elected in November for another four-year term against tepid opposition. Maybe voters have short memories. Maybe Senator Girod is hoping for the same. The lesson: If Second Amendment activists want better policy, they need to play harder in elections.
|Post Date: 2021-04-21 17:30:24||Last Update: 2021-04-21 17:37:56|