Oregon legislature passes new gun control bill

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by DCG
kate brown

Oregon Governor Kate Brown, who lobbied for this bill

While I could agree with convicted domestic abusers not having firearms, I have a problem with denying someone their Constitutional right because of a restraining order (which is no cost to file in Oregon).
Here’s some of the requirements to obtain a restraining order in Oregon, according to the Family Abuse Protection Act (FAPA):

  • The test is whether a reasonable person faced with such behavior would be placed in fear of imminent bodily injury. Fielder v. Fielder, 211 Or App 668 (2007). The “placed in fear” element is established by consideration of the totality of the circumstances, and neither overt threats nor physical violence is required.
  • Abuse may be claimed solely or partially on the basis of verbal threats placing one in fear of imminent bodily injury.
  • Showing Required: Respondent represents a credible threat to the physical safety of Petitioner or Petitioner’s child/ren.
  • Credible Threat: This element of a FAPA claim is very similar to the “imminent danger” prong. Evidence for one often satisfies the other. See, e.g., Hubbell v. Sanders, 245 Or App 321, 327 (2011). The “credible threat” language was added to FAPA to harmonize Oregon law with federal law imposing criminal liability on a Respondent who possesses or uses firearms or ammunition while subject to qualifying protective order.

Divorces, child custody battles and breakups can get very, very ugly. Spiteful people can make up any story they want for a judge when trying to “get back” at someone. I’m not a fan of removing a Constitutional right of an innocent person without due process.
Nationally syndicated columnist Jacob Sullum at Reason blog wrote an article on February 20 entitled, “Are Gun Violence Restraining Orders Consistent With Due Process? He writes:
“But the whole point of these laws is to make disarming people easier than forcing them into psychiatric treatment, which already makes them ineligible to own a gun under federal law. The stronger the civil liberties protections, the less likely such laws are to stop any particular mass shooting.”
Read his full article about Gun Violence Restraining Orders (GVRO) here.
Note: The Multnomah County instructions for obtaining a restraining order clearly state“A restraining order is an important step for safety, but it will not necessarily stop the respondent from hurting or attempting to hurt you. It is important that you plan how to protect yourself in the event that the respondent disobeys the restraining order.”
From Mercury News: Fueled by anguished voices in the aftermath of the Florida high school shooting, Oregon’s Legislature on Thursday banned people convicted of stalking and domestic violence or under restraining orders from buying or owning firearms and ammunition.
The passage of the bill (HB 4145; read the whole bill here) by the state Senate on a 16-13 vote appears to mark the first time a state legislature has passed a gun-control measure since the Feb. 14 shooting in Parkland, Florida, said Anne S. Teigen, a criminal justice expert with the National Conference of State Legislatures in Denver.
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown had lobbied for the bill, telling a Senate committee this week to hear the anguished voices rising in the aftermath of the Florida attack in which 17 people were killed. The Democratic governor said she intends to sign into law the measure that the House earlier approved to protect victims of domestic violence.
Passage of the bill comes as the nation heatedly debates gun control in the wake of the Florida shooting.
A group led by former Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who survived a 2011 shooting that left her with a brain injury, applauded the Legislature’s passing of the so-called boyfriend loophole bill. “Oregon is taking the lead to protect communities from gun violence,” said Robin Lloyd, government affairs director for Giffords’ nonprofit organization that seeks to save lives from gun violence.
Brown praised lawmakers after the bill passed both chambers, observing that “it took the voices and outrage of youth devastated by gun violence to hold decision makers’ feet to the fire.”
The House had approved the bill in a 37-23 vote on Feb. 15, with two Republicans including gubernatorial candidate Knute Buehler joining Democrats in voting “aye.”
“I think survivors of domestic violence shouldn’t have to live in fear that their abusers can obtain a firearm,” Buehler had said.
Before Thursday’s vote, Sen. Floyd Prozanski, a Democrat from the university town of Eugene, stood and urged his colleagues to support the bill. His voice cracking, he recalled that his sister was shot dead by her boyfriend in 1973 after she said she was leaving him. He cited statistics saying a woman is five times more likely to die if a gun present in domestic violence situation and 54 percent of mass shootings involve domestic violence.
Opponents said the law would violate Second Amendment protections on the right to bear arms. Unlawful possession of guns and ammunition is punishable by a maximum of 364 days’ imprisonment, a $6,250 fine, or both.
One Democrat split from the rest of her caucus and joined the Republican senators in voting against the measure. Republicans said the bill could have been better crafted and that it was too complicated an issue to consider in the short 2018 legislative session.
The bill expands those who could be banned from owning guns and ammunition after a conviction, adding stalking as a qualifying crime, and adding those who are under a restraining order. Supporters said the bill closed a loophole in a 2015 law that excluded some abusers, such as boyfriends who abuse partners they don’t live with.
An amendment proposed by Sen. Herman Baertschiger, a Republican from Grants Pass, to appropriate $20 million to the state police for implementing and enforcing firearms laws was voted down on Thursday by the Senate. “Senate Democrats rejected additional funding to the state police,” said Senator Republican Leader Jackie Winters. “With additional funding, the state police would be freed up to enforce drug laws, gun laws, and increase public safety.”

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