Background checks on private gun sales bill debated

Gun advocates argue law is “borderline treasonous”; others say it could save lives.

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Advocates on both sides of the gun control debate descended upon the Capitol Wednesday to weigh in on Senate Bill 941, which would subject all gun sales — with a few exceptions —  to background checks.

The rhetoric heated up quickly, the Statesman Journal reports.

Opponents of the background check expansion said it would be an onerous burden on responsible gun owners and would be virtually unenforceable. Many said it went too far in restricting gun owners’ rights. Grant County Sheriff Glen Palmer said the very idea of it was “borderline treasonous” and violated the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which provides the right to bear arms not be “infringed.”

“I have no intention of enforcing that law,” he said.

Twelve other states already have similar laws on the books, and safety advocates said they help stem gun violence in cities.

The Bend Bulletin writes:

Robert Yuille’s wife, Cindy, was killed at the Clackamas Town Center shooting in December 2012. He has since advocated for closing what the bill’s proponents call a loophole in gun sales.

“Her death of course has devastated our family beyond words,” Yuille said. “I’m here today for Cindy, because she no longer has a voice.”

Portland Mayor Charlie Hales said states that have already enacted similar legislation have seen a decrease in suicides and fatal shootings of police officers.

The law does more than ensure background checks, according to the Register-Guard:

It would let judges prohibit patients receiving court-ordered mental health treatment in a community setting from buying a gun, if they are deemed a potential danger to themselves or others.

If a buyer flunks a background check, OSP would be required to notify local law enforcement. The provision would put into law an agency rule adopted by former Gov. John Kitzhaber last year.

The Senate Judiciary Committee could vote on the measure as early as today.