It’s no secret that since Oregon Democrats took over they’ve sought to be the most ‘progressive’ of all the far Left states. No tax is high enough, no baby is dead enough, no salmon worshiped enough, no forest burned enough, no foster child imprisoned enough, no baker sued enough. And no gun right endangered enough.
On Tuesday morning in Salem, the State Senate Judiciary Committee heard testimony from a few dozen Oregonians on Senate Bill 978.
The bill and its 40-page amendment is a power grab that is so massive, so breathtaking, that it would arguably prevent people from using their legal concealed carry permits because so many new places could be defined as no-go-zones for legal gun carriers. It would turn “hundreds of thousands” of legal gun owners into felons overnight. It would require that guns be locked up, an issue that animated many of those testifying against the bill.
As Oregon Firearms Federation leader, Kevin Starrett, testified, “This vindictive, incoherent bill … makes it virtually impossible to leave the home with a firearm.”
Which, of course, is the point of the bill, naturally.
Attorney and retired State Trooper, Douglas Brown predicted that “this will end up in the US Supreme Court” and testified that there “is a multitude of problems with [the bill],” including that it is “incomprehensible” making it “impossible to know if you’re breaking the law.” He warned that the incomprehensibility would leave citizens vulnerable to political prosecutions.
Phil Watson of the Firearms Policy Coalition warned that the bill is “aggressive against carrying for self defense.”
The head of the Yamhill County Sportsman’s Association, Jim Mitschel, labeled the bill “too broad.” He claimed that the language of the bill was so flabby that it appeared he couldn’t have a firearm in his home because it is, in the words of the bill, “adjacent” to a school where there’s a no-gun policy.
“I am adamantly against this bill,” the retired police officer and gun rangemaster added.
Make no mistake, there were many compelling speeches by people who want to end gun violence. Everyone in that hearing room was opposed to “gun violence,” of course.
Dr. Ben Hoffman from Doernbecher Children’s Hospital told stories of dealing with children shot with unsecured guns. He said, “It’s impossible to gun proof a kid, therefore we need to kid proof guns.”
Pastor Mark Knutsen testified about how he leads a gun-free church. I’m not sure I’d be shouting that one from the rafters, Mark.
Elizabeth McKenna, a retired attorney and member of the anti gun group “Ceasefire Oregon” testified that the fuzzy bill was “wise” and “will make us much safer in Oregon.”
Cole Rainey, sporting a Joey Nations for Congress t-shirt, ticked off a list of all the tyrannical leaders through history who have disarmed citizens and murdered their citizens. He said ‘you are putting the safety of Oregonians last and your political special interests first.’
Frank Martin, an Air Force Veteran, former law enforcement officer and gun enthusiast, told the committee that he was tired of being “… told that I’m the problem with gun violence.”
One man asked the Committee if the state would be going after Home Depot and Lowe’s for carrying nail guns.
Kim Rowlands noted that he believed the law even outlawed pepper spray, “You’ll make us less safe. You’ve made self defense free zones.”
Tammy McKenzie told Committee Members that “Guns rights are women’s rights. Guns rights are men’s rights. Guns rights are American rights.”
And in her commanding, yet matter-of-fact way, made possibly the most bracing comment of the morning, “The Second Amendment makes me equal to anyone. Anyone.”
Oregonian Dennis Powers said that “Oregon has more criminals than we need right now. This bill is designed to make gun owners criminals.”
Greg Terhune, visibly angry over the breadth of the bill, told the gathering “We will not comply. We are citizens, not subjects.”
The next hearing on the bill is April 8.