PORTLAND, Ore. -- A bill introduced this past week in the Oregon legislature already has opponents concerned about their access to guns -- and the possibility of illegal searches at their homes.
There are heated arguments on both sides of House Bill 3200
, introduced Thursday in Salem by Rep. Mitch Greenlick
. Sponsors say the bill makes it a crime to own or transfer an assault weapon and carries a fine of up to $250,000. It also requires current gun owners to get rid of or register assault weapons and magazines and allows state police to conduct background checks.
However, Kevin Starrett with the Oregon Firearms Federation says that -- when you read the fine print -- the bill actually bans almost every modern firearm and limits the number of firearms you can own.
"The big new addition to this bill is warrantless searches by police," said Kevin Starrett with the Oregon Firearms Federation, "and that astonishes me that legislators like Mark Hass, Mitch Greenlick and Ginny Burdick would introduce a bill saying your home is no longer a castle and police can come in whenever they want that's a really frightening new addition."
Here's the exact wording in the bill:A registered owner of an assault weapon or large capacity magazine is required to:
a) Securely store the assault weapon or large capacity magazine pursuant to rules and regulations adopted by the department;
b) Allow an inspector from the department [of State Police] to inspect the storage of assault weapons and large capacity magazines to ensure compliance with this subsection...
This, according to the bill, would be done "on property owned or immediately controlled by the registered owner."
And that has such Oregonians as KOIN Facebook follower Janet Lundberg
concerned: "This bill is highly dangerous," she writes in a message to KOIN. "...[I]t will infringe upon the Constitutional rights of every citizen in this state."
Supporters of House Bill 3200 say that, because the weapons are so dangerous, a condition of keeping a weapon would mean allowing inspectors to see how the weapons are stored. They say the bill will prevent tragedies like those in Newtown, Conn.
, and at the Clackamas Town Center
Ceasefire Oregon calls it legislation that creates sensible gun-safety measures to keep military-style weapons out of the wrong hands.
"Large-capacity ammunition magazines have been used in half the mass killings in the last 30 years," the organization says on its website
. "At least make the shooters stop to reload. Give us a chance."
The bill eventually will go to a committee where it could be amended, ignored or passed on to its next step in becoming state law.
Meanwhile, in the nationwide debate, on Monday the Associated Press reported that a dispute over whether to require record keeping for private gun sales is holding up a bipartisan compromise over expanding background checks for firearms transactions.
A U.S. Senate aide and a lobbyist say Oklahoma GOP Sen. Tom Coburn, a conservative playing a leading role in the talks, is balking at requiring record keeping for private transactions. They say he is concerned it could lead to a national gun registry, which Democrats say is untrue.HB 3200
requires gun owners to register any assault weapon and magazines they keep.