Tough Gun Control Bill, To Oregon Senate

Scheduled to appear this year in front of the Oregon Senate is SB 501, a bill that would dramatically change firearms laws in Oregon. The bill was authored by Students for Change, a gun control advocacy group of Lake Oswego teenagers that assembled after the Parkland, Florida massacre.

If passed as the bill now stands, Oregon gun laws would be among the strictest in the country. The piece of legislation calls for anyone purchasing or receiving a firearm to obtain a state-issued permit, punishable by 364 days imprisonment, a $6,250 fine, or both. The bill also requires gun owners to secure all firearms not carried by or within reach of the owner via trigger locks or locked containers, a violation would carry 30 days jail time, a $1,250 fine, or both. The law would also require background checks for purchasing or receiving ammunition, mandatory reporting to police within 24 hours of firearm theft, and 14 day background checks for gun purchases and transfers.

Perhaps the most sweeping changes that this bill proposes are magazine capacity regulations and ammunition sales limits. As the bill exists, it would prohibit most “large-capacity magazines,” which it defines as all magazines, fixed or detachable, capable of holding more than five rounds. Exempted from the ban would be fixed .22 caliber magazine tubes and fixed lever-action rifle magazines. The bill contained no language exempting shotguns from the ban, which sometimes hold seven shells in a fixed magazine tube. This legislation would presumably outlaw most revolvers, which usually hold six rounds. The penalty for violating this section of the law would be 364 days in prison, a $6,250, or both. Currently, the strictest state magazine capacity laws in the U.S. limit to ten rounds, and exist in a handful of states including California and New York.

SB 501 would also limit ammunition sales to 20 rounds a month, per person. Rounds sold at shooting ranges would be the exception, but all rounds purchased must be fired on site. Ammunition is very commonly sold in packages of 25. Some states have ammunition laws that include permitting and prohibited round types, but a 20 round limit would be the first state law barring ammo purchase at a certain amount.

The bill was submitted on behalf of Students for change by Rep. Andrea Salinas, D-Lake Oswego, and Sen. Rob Wagner, D- Tualatin. Wagner said that it’s “probably a long shot that something like this passes in whole cloth,” but this is the bill the students wanted to put in front of the Legislature.”

– By Jay Sharpe