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Bill Would Allow Oregon Officers To Enforce Domestic Violence Gun Ban

The Oregon Legislature is considering a bill that would make it easier for police to confiscate guns in cases of domestic violence and suspected domestic violence. The bill’s sponsor, Gresham Democrat Laurie Monnes Anderson, worked as a public health nurse and says she feels a personal commitment to the issue.

“I worked with at risk families and I dealt with several domestic violence victims. And the fear is unbelievable with these women,” she said.

An existing federal law bars people from having guns if they are convicted of domestic violence or subject to a restraining order, but only federal agents can enforce that law.  Victim’s advocates say there aren’t enough agents in Oregon to handle the large volume of domestic violence cases.

The new bill, SB 525, gives local law enforcement the authority to confiscate the guns.

The Oregon State Shooting Association, a local affiliate of the National Rifle Association, has not taken a position on the bill yet. Nelson Shew, the group’s president, said he wasn’t sure the bill was practical.

“If they want to do injury to someone and don’t have access to a firearm, they’ll do something else,” Shew said.
Shew said he was also concerned that people who are falsely accused of domestic violence will be required to give up their guns.  

The bill’s advocates say it does allow for some due process for those accused of domestic violence.  Sibyl Hebb, with the Oregon Law Center, says the gun ban would only apply to people who have been convicted of a crime or have had the chance to challenge their restraining order in front of a judge.

“It’s already federal law.  It’s just that the law isn’t being enforced,” Hebb said.

Monnes Anderson said she has asked several Republicans to co-sponsor Senate Bill 525, but so far only Democrats have signed on.

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