Oregon gun owners were relieved when the onerous and multi-faceted Senate Bill 978 died several days ago in Salem, but it may only be a temporary reprieve, because the legislation is likely to be resurrected in 2020, according to the Salem Statesman-Journal.
And in the third paragraph of that story, a remark by Hilary Uhlig with Moms Demand Action in Oregon probably told Beaver State gun rights activists more about the gun prohibition lobby than anti-gunners would want to telegraph.
“If it was too hard to stomach as a package, we are used to incremental change and we will keep working until we can stem the tide of gun death,” Uhlig said.
Incremental change; that’s another way of talking about steady erosion of Second Amendment rights. Anti-gunners look at the long game. Unlike some pro-right activists who want it all, now and it needs to be perfect, the gun control crowd is content with chipping away a little piece at a time.
The story was important enough that the San Francisco Chronicle picked up on it. For some people, SB 978 represents the kind of restrictive gun control that makes “good sense.”
As noted in the Chronicle story, “The measure would have required safe gun storage; placed liability on gun owners if a gun is stolen, but not reported, and used to injure a person or property; outlawed untraceable and undetectable firearms; granted local authorities the power to regulate firearm access in public buildings; and allowed retailers to set higher minimum purchasing age restrictions.”
Translation: The right to keep and bear arms would have been reduced to a heavily-regulated privilege.
SB 978 died as part of a deal between Republican and Democrat lawmakers that brought GOP state senators back to the chambers following a four-day walkout that prevented majority Democrats from taking any votes. There are 18 Democrats in the state senate, but there is a minimum 20-member requirement in the Senate chambers for any votes to be taken.
While the vote was for a gigantic tax package that is supposed to provide funding for education, Republicans were able to kill the gun control measure and one on another subject.
But Kevin Starrett with the Oregon Firearms Federation told the Statesman-Journal, “As you can imagine I am pleased that, at least for the moment, I don’t risk becoming a felon for driving near an airport or owning a firearm made before 1968. However, the Democrats have made it clear that is still their end game one way or another.”
Adding credibility to Starrett’s comment, Greg Stiles, identified as a spokesman for the House Republicans, was quoted by the newspaper stating, “These bills never go away. They always come back in one way or another.”
This comes as another controversy is brewing in Oregon, this one over the proposed delisting of gray wolves as endangered. The state Department of Fish & Wildlife (ODFW) Director Curtis Melcher earlier this month wrote a letter to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service supporting delisting but liberal Democrat Gov. Kate Brown essentially overruled Melcher by advising USFWS that the director’s position was “incorrect.”
Brown’s liberal voting base was furious over the Melcher position, so Brown reportedly wrote, “The state of Oregon and its agencies do not support the delisting of wolves from the federal Endangered Species Act across their range in the 48 contiguous states,” according to the Bend Bulletin.
Wolves are “making a comeback” in Oregon, and while that may not be good news to Beaver State hunters and ranchers, liberals in the Willamette Valley that includes Portland and Salem want them protected.