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Oregon Legislature tweaks law on gun licenses for felons

Discussion in 'Legal & Political Archive' started by onearmedswordsman, Feb 24, 2010.

  1. onearmedswordsman

    onearmedswordsman Hillsboro, OR Member

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    Oregon Legislature tweaks law on gun licenses for felons
    By Harry Esteve, The Oregonian
    February 24, 2010, 9:05PM
    SALEM -- Lawmakers scrambled Wednesday to fix what they called a "mistake" in a bill from last year that vastly broadened rights of convicted felons to obtain a license to own a gun in Oregon.

    But opposition from the gun lobby quickly doused all but a single tweak: Felons must make their requests to a Circuit Court judge instead of a justice of the peace.

    Language in a 2009 bill inadvertently changed state law to allow felons to apply to have their gun rights restored, throwing out provisions that they had to be convicted of only one felony that didn't involve a gun or a criminal homicide.

    "Anyone -- a rapist, a murderer -- can petition the court for the right to possess a firearm," said Sen. Floyd Prozanski, D-Eugene. The changes, which weren't intended, also muddied what had been a 15-year waiting period before felons could seek to restore their right to own a firearm, Prozanski said.

    "They can literally be in prison and make an application," he said.

    Prozanski dashed off an emergency bill that would restore earlier limits, but he ran into a hail of opposition from gun lobbyists. They argued that the current language is good because it allows people convicted of minor felonies to get their rights to own a gun restored more quickly.

    "None of us have any desire to arm murderers or rapists, I can assure you," said Kevin Starrett, executive director of the Oregon Firearms Federation. But some people have been convicted of a gun-related felony simply because they filled a form out wrong, Starrett said. "We should be supporting the potential for redemption."

    Prozanski said the issue arose last year in an attempt to make it possible for some nonviolent felons to see their gun rights restored. But while one state law allowed felons to buy a gun, another prohibited them from possessing them.

    In an attempt to rectify that situation, the Legislature approved Senate Bill 603, which eliminated language limiting which categories of felons could petition to own a gun. Prozanski said he wasn't aware of the effect of the changes until after Gov. Ted Kulongoski signed the bill.

    He proposed Senate Bill 1064, which would restore the 15-year wait and single-felony limit and rule out felons who used a gun in the commission of a crime or who were convicted of homicide. His bill passed the Senate early Wednesday but ran into trouble in the House after protests by Starrett and Rod Harder, lobbyist for the National Rifle Association.

    Democrats in conservative districts were hesitant to support a bill opposed by the NRA. Starrett and Harder proposed the compromise -- that any application be heard by a Circuit Court judge. Those judges typically have more legal training than a justice of the peace.

    Prozanski said he can live with the compromise but still thinks the law is too lax. He said he'll continue working to tighten restrictions on felons obtaining firearms.

    The revised bill won unanimous approval in the House and Senate. It now goes to Kulongoski, who has yet to study the details, his spokeswoman said.

    The vote put gun control supporters in a bind. Sen. Ginny Burdick, D-Portland, an outspoken gun control advocate, said she voted for the bill with the intention of delving into the issue again when the Legislature convenes next year.

    "This bill does not go nearly far enough in keeping guns out of the hands of dangerous felons," Burdick said.

    -- Harry Esteve

    http://tinyurl.com/y8gurn4
     
  2. Morpheus

    Morpheus Columbia Gorge Anyway, back on the farm.

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    I'm sure most of us know this already, but this article was horribly written. No fact checking of any kind.

    And no, I'm not shocked that the Oregonian didn't really clean up their article and actually base it on the facts.

    Anyway, glad that it went through with some solid corrections that made sense. Not that it needed to be done to begin with. Total waste of tax payer's money on something which had been fixed last year.

    M
     
  3. onearmedswordsman

    onearmedswordsman Hillsboro, OR Member

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    I got wind of this last night thanks to an OFF email. I posted the article before reading it. I just wanted the news out quick. Then I read it and almost regretted it. Can't remember ever reading such a poor piece of journalism!
     
  4. longcolt

    longcolt Zephyrhills, FL Active Member

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    The important point here is that for a felon to get back gun rights they have to go before a judge. Thats a pretty big hurdle for anyone to jump. If you are not squeaky clean you will never get your gun rights back.

    Remember you can be a felon by having a suspended drivers license and continuing to ignore the court order to not drive and get stopped a few times in contempt of the court order. Some they ticket and some get hauled off to jail.
     
  5. safooma

    safooma Oregon Member

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    Does anyone know(or have a link to) exactly what the process is for a felon to get their gun rights back?

    i ask because my dad has a felony for marjuana possession in california over 40 years ago. He has never had another infraction on his record--and nothing ever in oregon(moved here in 1977).

    Is a lawyer required or can someone apply for this themselves?

    Thanks!
     
  6. longcolt

    longcolt Zephyrhills, FL Active Member

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    I for one would want to get a lawyer to handle that procedure for me to make sure I didn't screw it up. Pick someone that has experience in these matters.