Oregon senator wants more gun background checks

By The Associated Press January 11, 2014 05:10 am

EUGENE — A state senator says he's bringing back a proposal to require background checks on all private gun sales and transfers, except those between extended family members.

Oregon law now requires background checks for sales of guns by federally licensed dealers and at gun shows, but not for person-to-person or online sales.

An almost identical provision that was part of a larger package of gun legislation died last year without a vote in the Senate, and it could face an uphill battle in this year's legislative session, the Eugene Register-Guard reported.

Democratic Sen. Floyd Prozanski said he's gotten assurances that if he can get the bill out of the Judiciary Committee, which he chairs, it will get a vote by the full Senate.

Data from the Oregon State Police show that most people who flunk the current background checks are felons, Prozanski said.

"If this receives an up-or-down vote on the Senate floor, everyone is going to have to put themselves on the record as to whether they support limiting felons' access to guns."

His proposal would exempt from background checks gun sales or transfers between parents and children; siblings; spouses and domestic partners; grandparents and grandchildren; and uncles, aunts, nieces and nephews.

For all other private sales, a seller who failed to call state police to perform a background check on the buyer could be charged with a misdemeanor on the first offense and a felony for repeat offenders.

Kevin Starrett, the executive director of the Oregon Firearms Federation, said the current background check system is "a mess and a nightmare" that delays sales with no justification, and the proposal to tighten it is "only window-dressing."

"You really think that (a failed background check) is going to stop a felon from getting a gun? There's guns all over the place," he said.