This bill repeals ORS 166.170 through 166.176, which are the Oregon statutes that allow only the state to restrict the “sale, acquisition, transfer, ownership, possession, storage, transportation or use” of firearms (referred to as “preemption”), and not cities, counties or school districts.
Personal Choice and Responsibility
The restrictions this would repeal prevent cities, counties, and schools from banning possession of concealed carry even by those with concealed handgun licenses. These entities would then impose such restrictions (in fact 2021 SB 554 expressly allows it), creating a “patchwork” of areas where it is legal to carry and where it is not. A citizen would thus never know where they could legally carry and whether they might be in violation of some local ordinance and would be forced to not carry at all.
This would not improve safety, as people with concealed carry licenses have gone through extensive background checks and have proven they are no threat to anyone. They commit crimes at a rate lower than police officers. Further, this would lead to the loss of innocent life as these people would be unable to protect themselves from violent criminals who carry without licenses or even the legal right to possess weapons. This bill says nothing about preventing criminals from being armed. They always will be. This would lead to even more loss of life, as concealed carriers would be not only unable to protect themselves but others around them as they so often do. For example, see the Titusville FLA back to school event in August 2018 where a concealed carrier immediately stopped a gunman who otherwise would have killed many children.
Repealing the restrictions in ORS 166.170-176 would lead to many cities, counties, and school districts unwittingly creating an atmosphere where it is easier to commit murder by instituting a patchwork of restrictions on possession of protection.
We are in favor of “local control” – deferring to local government wherever possible rather than state or federal government. But the U.S. Constitution, where there is a conflict, supersedes all and in the protection of rights enumerated in the bill of rights, must be the deciding factor. Courts across the nation have been consistently finding that it unconstitutional for states or localities to ban carry by those who can legally possess firearms. They can restrict the manner, but cannot ban possession entirely as carrying is what is referred to as “bear” in the “keep and bear” in the 2nd Amendment.