While the Oregon Capitol remained in COVID lockdown, preventing access to the building by legislators and the public this week, the House Committee on Rules continued to meet in order to pass anti-gun legislation.
Yesterday, on another party-line vote (4-3), the House Committee on Rules Democrats voted to advance SB 554 with amendments. These amendments were only made available four hours before the Committee voted to advance the measure to the Floor. Please contact your state lawmakers and ask them to OPPOSE Senate Bill 554.
Senate Bill 554 affects law abiding gun owners in Oregon by:
- Allowing Oregon’s more than 1,224 school district boards to prohibit Concealed Handgun License Holders (CHL) on their grounds
- Allows the State Capitol and airports to prohibit CHL holders
- Mandates one-size-fits-all firearms storage within your home and vehicle
- DOUBLES CHL application fees and increases renewal fees by 50%
- Potential felony prosecution and loss of your firearm rights for violations
As originally drafted, SB 554 gutted Oregon’s Preemption law by handing authority over to any municipality, to dictate firearms laws in any public building. The measure was referred to the House Committee on Rules in early April and was scheduled for a public hearing last week.
Less than 20 hours before the first public hearing occurred, a 23-page amendment was introduced. The amendment, known as A-20, sought to combine SB 554’s anti-preemption provisions with HB 2510’s mandatory firearms lock-up language into a single bill. Both SB 554, and HB 2510, have faced intense public scrutiny and overwhelming opposition this legislative session. Despite the short notice of the exhaustive amendment, the House Committee on Rules seemed to focus their attention and consideration solely on the A-20 amendment, rather than the publicly noticed SB 554 public hearing.
During the two days of public hearings on SB 554, 36 different amendments were proposed to the bill. After focusing the Committee’s attention on the A-20 amendment for the two days of public hearings, House Rules Committee Chairwoman Barbara Smith Warner announced that the Committee would instead be focused on the A-36 amendment, an amendment that was not ever made available for public comment.
To make matters worse, the work session had to be delayed to allow for the statutorily-required notice requirement to be met. Four hours after introducing the amendment, the Committee began its deliberations on the 23-page A-36 amendment, with no opportunity for public comment.
The House Committee on Rules ultimately passed SB 554, with the A-36 amendments offered by House Democrat Majority Leader Tina Kotek. SB 554, as amended, now heads to the House Floor for a vote, potentially as early as Tuesday, April 27. It is extremely important that you contact your State Senator and State Representative and ask them to OPPOSE Senate Bill 554.