Oregon Gov. Brown signs gun storage requirements into law
Gov. Kate Brown has signed a bill that sets storage requirements for firearms and bans holders of concealed-handgun licenses from bringing them into the Oregon Capitol and Portland International Airport passenger terminal.
"Today, I am signing Senate Bill 554 with the hope that we can take another step forward to help spare more Oregon families from the grief of losing a loved one to gun violence," Brown said in a tweet announcing the signing on Tuesday, June 1.
Paul Kemp was the brother-in-law of Steve Forsyth, one of two people killed on Dec. 11, 2012, at a shooting at Clackamas Town Center. He and Cindy Ann Yuille were killed by an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle that was found to have been stolen.
"For the past three years, we have testified, tweeted, emailed, called, and more in support of this life-saving legislation," Kemp said in a statement released by the Oregon chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety. "This is a win for families of the 522 people taken by gun violence each year."
The first part of the bill is decided to Forsyth and Yuille.
Oregon joins 11 other states with some form of requirements for locks and safe storage of firearms, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
The bill passed largely with Democratic votes. One Democrat voted no in the Senate; three Democrats voted no in the House. No Republican voted for it in either chamber.
The day after Brown signed the bill, three Republican representatives — Mike Nearman of Independence, E. Werner Reschke of Klamath Falls and David Brock Smith of Port Orford — filed paperwork with the Oregon Elections Division to start the petition process to gather signatures in an effort to compel a statewide vote in the November 2022 general election. They will need to file 74,680 signatures — 4% of the votes cast for governor in 2018 — by Sept. 25 to put the law on hold. The secretary of state has 30 days to verify signatures. If signatures fall short or are not submitted, the law takes effect Sept. 26, 91 days after the scheduled end of the 2021 session.
The gun storage requirements were originally in a House bill. But the House Rules Committee merged it with a narrower version of Senate Bill 554, which in its original form would have barred firearms by an estimated 300,000 holders of concealed-handgun licenses from a variety of public places.
The final version narrowed the actual ban to the Capitol in Salem — but not other state buildings — and the Portland International Airport passenger terminal. Federal regulations control firearms in luggage and passenger boarding areas.
Governing boards of school districts, community colleges and universities have the option of barring firearms from their buildings and grounds. Unlike the original bill, cities, counties and special districts would not have that option under the law. State courts, which often are housed in buildings maintained by counties, already bar firearms by anyone other than law enforcement officers.
The Legislature passed a bill in 2017, known as a "red-flag law," that allows firearms to be removed from people deemed to be a danger to themselves or others if family members or police petition the courts.
A summary of the provisions of SB 554:
• Guns must have trigger or cable locks, be stored in a locked container or in a gun room. An offense is a Class C violation, which carries a maximum fine of $500, unless someone under age 18 obtains access, in which case it is a Class A violation with a maximum fine of $2,000. No jail time is imposed for violations.
• Stolen firearms must be reported to police, generally within 72 hours.
• Initial filing fees for concealed-handgun licenses are increased from $50 to $100, and for renewals, from $50 to $75.
• The Oregon Capitol and the Portland airport passenger terminal are off-limits to all firearms, including those borne by holders of concealed-handgun licenses, except for law enforcement. (The bill specifies airport terminals with annual passenger counts of 1 million; Eugene and Medford were at those thresholds in 2019 prior to the coronavirus pandemic. Sponsors say that the ban applies only to Portland.)
Violations are considered Class A misdemeanors with maximum punishments of one year in jail and a fine of $6,250.
• Firearms bans for license holders are optional at the discretion of the governing boards of Oregon's 197 school districts, 17 community colleges, seven state universities and Oregon Health & Science University. Notices must be posted online, and at entrances to buildings and grounds.
• The final version removes optional bans by cities, counties and special districts. Firearms bans already apply to state courts, which often are in buildings maintained by counties.
NOTE: Updates with three Republican representatives filing paperwork on June 2, the day after the governor signed it, to start the petition process to gather signatures in an effort to compel a statewide vote in the November 2022 general election.
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