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Oregon Governor Wants To Take Up Gun Control In February Session


Days after the Las Vegas shooting that left 58 dead and hundreds wounded, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown is trying to put gun control on the agenda of the short election-year legislative session that will start in February.

Brown, a Democrat, announced Friday that she wants to pursue two measures — both of which failed in this year’s session — to tighten the state’s gun laws.

One would require background checks to be completed before a firearms sale can be finalized. Currently, a gun dealer can choose to proceed with a sale if a check is not completed in three days. It’s known by gun control advocates as the “Charleston loophole” because it helped the killer in the 2015 church massacre to complete a firearms purchase.

The second measure would close what is known by advocates as the “boyfriend loophole.” Closing it means preventing people charged with or convicted of domestic violence crimes from possessing guns.

“These policies will keep guns out of the wrong hands,” Brown said in a statement, “and help keep our promise to families across the state to keep our communities safe.”

Republican legislative leaders could not be reached for immediate comment. There was also no immediate reaction from Rep. Knute Buehler, R-Bend. He is Brown’s most prominent opponent in next year’s race for governor.

But Senate Majority Leader Ginny Burdick, D-Portland, said she remains torn about whether the Legislature should take up contentious issues during the six-week session that will start in February.

“We should be aiming for bills that have bipartisan support,” she said, adding that she would vote for both of the bills if they reached the floor. Burdick has been one of the Legislature’s biggest champions of tighter gun laws.

House Majority Leader Jennifer Williamson, D-Portland, said in a statement that she has strongly supported both bills and looks forward to working with the governor on them in the upcoming sessions.

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