A gun control bill that came before a key committee at the Oregon Legislature on Friday was passed by Democrats, despite Republican qualms about potential legal costs and the bill's constitutionality. The bill would prohibit the sale and possession of guns without a serial number, prohibit people under 21 from having guns except for certain hunting rifles, and bar people licensed to carry a concealed handgun from doing so in public buildings and on adjacent grounds.
Democrats have defended it as a way to reduce mass shootings and save lives, while Republican lawmakers have blasted it as unconstitutional and costly to defend. They argued it would destroy father-and-child hunting “rites of passage” in rural communities.
The U.S. Supreme Court last summer struck down a New York law that placed strict limits on carrying guns outside the home but directed lower courts to use new historical evaluation standards when considering challenges to gun regulations.
Democratic lawmaker Susan Peters stated: "This bill doesn't restrict hunting; we want responsible firearm ownership while ensuring safety measures are taken." She added: "We are working tirelessly towards reducing incidents where children fear for their lives during school hours."
In response, Republican legislator John Thompson expressed concerns regarding potential lawsuits over such legislation: "Not only is this an infringement upon Second Amendment rights," he said, "but also leaves our state vulnerable due to expensive litigation battles."
Despite these objections from Republicans within Oregon's legislature, Democratic lawmakers remain confident that their efforts will ultimately make schools safer environments for students across the state.
"Reducing access for those who should not possess firearms is crucial," explained Democrat representative Karen Stevens.