Oregon's new background check gun law begins Sunday

New Ore. gun sale law takes effect Sunday

SALEM, Ore. -- A change to Oregon's gun laws goes into effect Sunday, which will require universal background checks for all gun sales - even private ones.

While there are questions about how the law will be enforced, supporters think raising awareness will help make it successful.

The public service announcement now appearing on television and online features former Portland Police Chief Mike Reese.

"Being a former police officer, I know how important it is," Reese says in the video.

He explains how the new law will require criminal and mental health checks for private gun transfers, just like the federal rules for sales by licensed dealers.

With this change, Oregon will become the 12th state to require the private sales check for both handguns and rifles. But it didn't happen without a fight. So much so, that some county sheriff's commissions have refused to enforce the law.

State Senator Ginny Burdick said it is law enforcement's responsibility to enforce the new law. 

"This is crime prevention. That's what policing should be about. It should be about preventing a crime before it happens. It's much less costly to prevent it than to move in after a crime has occurred," she said.

Private gun sales are especially hard to track. But proponents told KGW they believe the new law will especially make a difference in targeting private Internet sales.

Supporters of the new law also cited research which found states that require background checks on all handgun sales saw 48% fewer gun suicides, 48% fewer law enforcement officers killed with handguns and 46% fewer women killed by their domestic partners. 

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