SALEM, Ore. — Oregon's voter-approved Measure 114 is currently on hold while legal challenges play out in the court system, but a trio of separate gun control measures have emerged in this year's legislative session.
Lawmakers in Salem listened to testimony about three bills related to gun violence prevention this week: House Bill 2005, House Bill 2006, and House Bill 2007. Legislators said Wednesday that they plan to merge the three into a single bill with several amendments.
Supporters said the bills are common sense gun reforms to prevent violence while still taking into account the rights of law-abiding Oregonians. Critics have called them an overreach, and said they could punish lawful gun owners if signed into law.
The first bill deals with untraceable and undetectable firearms — sometimes called "ghost guns" — and would punish those who make, sell or possess them.
"They have emerged as a weapon of choice for violent criminals, gun traffickers, extremists, and generally, people legally prohibited from buying firearms," said Rep. Dacia Grayber, D-Tigard.
Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum and Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt have expressed agreement about the dangers of ghost guns. Both gave recent examples of what they called a growing and dangerous problem.
"Last March of 2022, a Salem man was indicted in what's considered our state's largest ghost gun operation thus far. Police seized dozens of ghost guns and their components from this man's house along with approximately 200 oxycontin pills believed to be laced with fentanyl," said Rosenblum.
"Last year, my office successfully prosecuted a murder case involving a woman named Crampton Brophy. Brophy purchased a ghost gun online, attempting to conceal the murder of her husband," said Schmidt.
The second bill, HB 2006, would raise the minimum age to possess firearms from 18 to 21, with a few exceptions.
"It would recognize that 18 to 21-year-olds should still have access to hunting and to trap shooting...but that ultimately we have a problem," said Rep. Paul Evans, D-Monmouth.
The third bill allows cities and counties to restrict concealed carry in public buildings, if government officials choose to do so.
"It puts power in the hands of community leaders across the state to choose which policy makes the most sense for their constituents," said Rep. Lisa Reynolds, D-Washington County
Despite strong support at the committee hearings, there was fierce opposition to the bills.
"As these bills sit, I cannot be supportive of them," said Rep. James Hieb, R-Canby.
"House Bill 2006 and the other bills before you will very little reduce gun violence in our state. Why? Because we do not have a gun violence problem, we have a mental health problem," said Rep. Virgle Osborne, R-Roseburg.
Committee meetings can be viewed in full, on the Oregon Legislature's website. A work session for the three bills has been scheduled for Tuesday, March 28 at 8 a.m.