Oregon Castle Doctrine Ballot Initiative
Below is a summary of Oregon Initiative Petition #10, the Oregon Castle Doctrine Act. This act will appear on the general election ballot in November 2014 if petitioners are able to gather the requisite 87,000+ valid signatures by July 3, 2014.
Please note that petitioners are out gathering signatures to get this on the ballot and will be looking for your signature.
Oregon Initiative Petition #10- Oregon Castle Doctrine Act
-Residents are not subject to any civil or criminal liability resulting from the use of physical force (including lethal force) against an intruder. Such use of force is presumed to have occurred in self-defense or in the defense of a third party
-Landowners are “not liable for any injury, death or other damage suffered by a trespasser on the land where such injury, death, or other damage is caused by any condition of the land or its fixtures.” (This provision doesn’t protect landowners who place a spring gun or other device for the purpose of injuring a person.)
-Intruder is defined as a person who is committing criminal trespass in the first degree or burglary in the first or second degree.
-Land is defined as “all real property, whether publicly or privately owned.”
-Owner means the “possessor of any interest in any land, including but not limited to possession of a fee title. Owner also includes a tenant, lessee, occupant or other person in possession of the land.”
-Resident is defined as “any person who is lawfully present in a building or dwelling.”
-Trespasser is defined as” any person, 18 years of age or older, who unlawfully enters or remains on the land.”
Oregon Gun Owners 2013 Legislative Report
Oregon’s 77th Legislative Assembly began the session with an aggressive agenda. Public Employee Benefits, education funding and other policy issues, including gun control legislation, were priority agenda items for many members of the Legislature. This was the first full session since the Oregon constitution was amended to require annual sessions of the legislature. With the transition to annual sessions, the attitude of the body has shifted to that of being a full-time legislature. Although laws can only be passed during specified times of the year, legislators are far more engaged through the course of a year than they have ever been. The Legislature will meet throughout the interim in workgroups, taskforces and “Committee Days,” where legislative committees meet outside of session to hold informational hearings on potential policy changes.
Momentum for strict gun control legislation swept across the nation this year following the mass shootings in Connecticut and Clackamas Town Center in Happy Valley, Oregon. Gun control advocates urged Congress, State and local governments to apply regulatory vehicles to limit second amendment rights as they relate to gun ownership and the increasing bureaucracy that surrounds gun ownership. In Oregon, anti gun legislators introduced highly controversial firearm legislation that would have had a significant impact on law-abiding gun owners; however, Second Amendment proponents were successful in silencing a legislative call for ill-advised regulation of firearms.
Legislators from nearly every corner of the state received calls from constituents both supporting and opposing legislation that sought to truncate Second Amendment rights. Moderate Democrats, such as Sen. Betsy Johnson (D-Scappoose) received considerable correspondence over the issues due to their moderate stance on firearms issues in their respective chambers. Complicating this issue to a severe degree is that in late April, Sen. Johnson was severely injured in an automobile accident leaving her sidelined for several weeks during the session. Johnson is a key swing vote in the Democrat controlled Senate where the draconian ant-firearms legislation was being proposed. Thankfully, the rules of the senate require a constitutional majority (16 votes) and not a majority of those present in order to pass legislation. The absence of Sen. Johnson would not allow action on gun control legislation to occur without her key vote until very late in the session.
OGO was present in Salem every day, and for the entirety of the firearms conversation. I am happy to report that we were one of the most significant voices for protecting gun rights. The next step in the process will be to monitor workgroups and taskforces, as well as ballot the ballot measure process as anti gun groups are seeking new ways of regulating your gun rights at the ballot box.
Gun control advocates in Oregon fought losing battle in Oregon Legislature
Coming into this session OGO had a definitive sense that elected officials at the state and federal level were calling for greater gun control regulations, severely impacting Second Amendment rights. In Oregon, many feared that the urban, liberal members of the Legislature would commandeer legislative action and force onerous regulatory barriers on law-abiding citizens and their right to own and carry firearms. While this happened to a small degree, OGO’s presence seemed to bottle up the anti-firearms rhetoric and focus that conversation on issues related more to public safety and mental health.
Oregon’s House of Representatives was relatively quiet on the issue of firearms in 2013. House Democrats like Mitch Greenlick (D-Portland) and Alissa Keny-Guyer did sponsor legislation aimed directly at firearms owners, but they did not make a significant push for their bills. There are several reasons for the low profile, but chief among them is that the Oregon Gun Owners have made a point to support and educate rural House Democrats that believe in 2nd amendment rights. For this reason, the votes were not there to ram firearms restrictions through the process, as is the M.O. we have seen from the Senate. The House did have its fair share of bad legislation, but House Judiciary Chair Jeff Barker (D-Aloha) and House Majority Leader Val Hoyle (D-W. Eugene) did an excellent job vetting legislation to ensure that end products have an impact on public safety while not eroding constitutional rights to bear arms.
The following are a few of the bad house bills that were introduced, but were not given any hearings in the 2013 session.
• HB 3200 would have established a ban on assault rifles, limited magazine sizes and made the transfer of the afore mentioned illegal, among other things
• HB 3413 would have made it a crime of endangering a minor by allowing access to a firearm. It would also prohibit transfer of firearm to person convicted of endangering a minor by allowing access to a firearm for five-year period after conviction.
• HB 3114 would have allowed public universities, Oregon Health & Science University, and community college districts to prohibit firearms possession on campus, including possession of concealed weapons.
There were four bills that gained considerable traction this year in the Oregon Senate:
• SB 347 would have established a prohibition on CHL carry in Oregon schools
• SB 699 would have expanded a prohibition on open carry in public buildings
• SB 700 would have expanded requirements for background checks for virtually all firearm sales
• SB 796 would have required concealed handgun licensees to pass a firing range test
SB 700, in particular, became a viable vehicle in the Legislature once it became clear Senate Democrats thought that they had an argument to sway Sen. Johnson to support the measure. The bill moved around in Senate for months being worked and amended until it was finally scheduled for a public hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee. Votes existed to move the legislation out of the committee, but when it came down to the vote count in the full Senate it was obvious that the votes did not exist to move legislation through that chamber and over to the House for further consideration. The bill drove a legislative and public conversation about whether Oregon should change its existing statutes over background checks. The gun show loop hole was closed in Oregon several years ago, yet legislators were adamant that one major way to reduce gun violence is through increased background checks, a severely flawed methodology.
In early April, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a heavily attended public hearing for the slate of proposed firearm regulations. Gov. John Kitzhaber testified in support of SB 347 and SB 700. Kitzhaber suggested that a prohibition on concealed carry in schools was a reasonable way to protect students, and the expansion of background check requirements was a sensible method to reduce illegal gun use and ensure firearms do not end up in the wrong hands. Additionally, the Governor stated that SB 700 would not limit the ability of law-abiding citizens to purchase firearms.
Greg Miller of Pac/West testified against all four bills on behalf of the Oregon Gun Owners, suggesting that the Committee was focusing on the wrong issues. Miller said that they should direct their efforts towards increasing funding and awareness for mental health and restricting the access that private citizens have to schools. Paul Phillips of Pac/West also testified to the committee, highlighting the immense economic benefits (including the $1.1 billion in total economic activity and the 7,046 total jobs) the firearms and ammunition industry provide in Oregon. Phillips acknowledged proposed amendments to SB 700 that would exempt firearms retailers from being compelled to conduct private background checks, but cautioned the committee that the bill only adds additional regulations for law-abiding gun owners.
Another hearing was held on April 18 in the Senate Judiciary Committee to hold a work session (i.e. vote) for the proposed regulations and send it to the Senate Floor. Initially, Chair Floyd Prozanski (D-South Lane and North Douglas Counties) had postponed a vote on gun control bills because Senate leadership did not believe they had the adequate votes to send the bill over to the House of Representatives. However, they believed that proposed amendments may help push the bill.
Before working the bills, the committee adopted several amendments:
• The (-9) amendments were adopted to SB 347, converting the measure from an “opt-out” to an “opt-in” policy for schools; meaning that concealed carry by concealed handgun license holders on school grounds is legal, unless the school district in question adopts a policy banning carry of firearms on school grounds.
• The (-6) amendments were adopted to SB 699, allowing active and retired police officers (whether on duty or off) to carry firearms in public buildings, including the Oregon State Capitol.
• The (-17) amendments were adopted to SB 700, providing exemptions from conducting background for transfers to a spouse, domestic partner, parent, grandparent, sibling, child, stepchild, or grandchild.
• The (-8) amendments were adopted to SB 796, requiring concealed handgun license applicants to participate in competency class taught by a live instructor (prohibiting applicants from fulfilling the requirement online).
These bills moved out of the Judiciary committee along party lines by a margin of 3-2 – Sens. Floyd Prozanski, Arnie Roblan (D-Coos Bay) and Sen. Jackie Dingfelder (D-Portland) voted “yes” while Sens. Jeff Kruse (R-Roseburg) and Vice-Chair Sen. Betsy Close (R-Albany) voted “no”. While the legislation moved out of committee passage out of the Senate was not a perfunctory process.
In early May, when the slate of gun control bills were positioned for a vote by the Senate Floor, Senate President Peter Courtney (D-Salem) sent them to the Senate Rules Committee in order for advocates to find a bi-partisan compromise to the issue, or in laymen’s terms find the votes to pass the bills. While there remained a sense throughout the final days of the session over whether they would reappear in the Senate Rules Committee, all of the gun control measures died for the time being when the Legislature declared adjournment sine die on July 8, 2013.
Other firearms-related measures
There were several other firearm-related measures introduced this session; however, most of them did not gain significant footing to move. Two that did, however, were SB 713 and House Joint Resolution (HJR) 16. SB 713, a bill proposed by the Oregon Association of Shooting Ranges, would permit shooting ranges to be located on specified exclusive farm use zones. It passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee by a vote of 4-1. HJR 16 proposes a constitutional amendment in Oregon establishing the right to hunt, fish, trap and harvest wildlife. Although the bill was not passed by both chambers and is therefore dead, it did pass through the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee by a vote of 7-1. Unfortunately, the Speaker of the House and Senate President referred these measures to committees before they could be voted on by the body, effectively killing them.
While proponents of Second Amendment rights were successful in defeating burdensome firearm regulations this year, there remains potential for the momentum to carry over into the 35-day “short session” that will be held in February 2014. Sen. Ginny Burdick (D-Portland) was recently quoted saying, “Not being able to get a vote on either of those things was very disappointing,” referring to SB 347 and SB 700. “Universal background checks is definitely doable in the short session.” With Portland Democrats passionately pursuing greater firearm regulations, it is likely to see similar measures appear once the Legislature reconvenes early next year. It is important that we begin itemizing priorities and forming legislative concepts to ensure that the voice of the Oregon Gun Owners is heard in the decision making process.
Multnomah County tightens its gun control laws
April 25, 2013 – The Multnomah County Commissioners unanimously adopted a proposal to enact a gun control ordinance in the county. It is very similar to the ordinance that was adopted by the City of Portland in 2010. Multnomah County’s proposal was supported by County Sheriff Dan Staton, District Attorney Rod Underhill and several pediatricians.
Click here to read more.
Donate to the Oregon Gun Owners Legislative Fund
As the end of the Oregon Legislative Session nears, the potential still exists for state firearms legislation. Please support the Oregon Gun Owners in continuing the fight against burdensome regulations on law abiding gun owners in the state. Call 503-286-3206 to donate to the OGO legislative fund today!
Oregon Firearms Update – June 28, 2013
The appetite to address firearms issues seems to be picking up as we near the end of the session. Discussions regarding SB 700, related to background checks, was a non-starter this past month. However, as we are in the final days of the session, end game negotiations are bringing SB 700 back to life. While there are no defined plans to move the bill out of the Senate Rules committee, where it has been resting since it was moved off the Senate floor in April, Senate Democrats only need three votes from the five-member committee to move it to the floor. The background check bill is the only firearms bill that is being talked about in terms of moving legislation.
Even if the Senate moves the bill, three factors may keep it bottled up:
1) There are still not enough votes to move the bill out of the Senate.
2) The House has not committed to hearing any firearms bills passed out of the Senate.
3) We are in the final days of the session, so the time to move a policy bill as divisive as legislation pertaining to firearms is simply not there.
We continue to monitor this issue from inside of the Capitol and will report back if it looks like there will be movement on SB 700.