SB 604 VOTE:NO – Died In Committee
Status (overview) of bill:https://olis.oregonlegislature.gov/liz/2021R1/Measures/Overview/SB604
This bill would have required a person to obtain permit before purchasing or otherwise receiving firearm under circumstances requiring criminal background check. Permit to be obtained from county sheriff or municipal police department and valid for 5 years. Person must provide proof of completion of firearm safety course and provide fingerprints when applying for permit.
Personal Choice and Responsibility
This bill purports to address two issues: 1. a lack of safety training among people purchasing firearms and 2. an inadequacy of the current background check done when a firearm is transferred in that the check does not currently include fingerprints. This bill would require that the fingerprints be submitted to the FBI and included in the background check for the permit. This bill would fail to resolve either problem. on 1., most gun owners are conscientious and take safety training without being required to by law. Those who would forego training, will also forego getting this permit and instead just acquire the firearm on the black market or have someone buy it for them (a straw purchaser). on 2., No reputable research has ever shown that permits to purchase firearms decrease crime. People who know they will fail a background check won’t bother to apply for this permit and will also obtain the firearm from the black market or a straw purchaser.
This will impose a burden on sheriff’s offices and police departments to issue these permits. There were 516,096 background checks for firearm purchases in Oregon in 2020 and all of these buyers would now need a permit. The bill allows the sheriff or police department to charge a fee of up to $20 but this won’t likely cover the cost of the man-hours and facility space to process these permits as the permit requires that a photo and fingerprints be taken.
The Department of State Police would now be required to maintain a database of valid permit holders, and a firearm transferor must verify with them that the purchaser’s permit is still valid in addition to requesting the background check that current law requires. The waiting list for background checks has numbered in the thousands of purchases and constituted weeks of a wait during 2020. This would only become worse with this new requirement.
This is one more infringement on the free market of firearm sales, with no demonstration of the likelihood of positive impact: Background checks at gun shows became required by state law in 2000 and “Universal” background checks in 2015. Oregon’s murder rate maintained an average 2.2 per 100,000 from 2000-2014, and actually *increased* to an average 2.6 from 2015-2019. Factors other than gun laws influence the murder rate of course, but no one has attempted to show that these laws have decreased crime in Oregon.