Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Victory In Oregon: Closing The "Boyfriend Loophole"

This week marks another great victory for gun regulation in the state of Oregon.  Governor Brown signed into law House Bill 4145.
The crowd as Governor Brown signs HB4145

In Oregon, it was already illegal for someone to own or possess guns if they were convicted of domestic violence against spouses, former spouses, someone they cohabit with, unmarried parents of their child, someone they've had sexual relations with whom they are cohabiting with, or someone they are blood relatives with.  Seems pretty broad, right? 

Unfortunately, it excluded those who were simply intimate partners who didn't cohabit.  In other words, the abusive boyfriend who is convicted of stalking or abusing his girlfriend. Thus, the "boyfriend loophole."

HB 4145 closes this loophole. The bill also now mandates that local law enforcement is notified when a prohibited person attempts to purchase a gun and fails a background check.

According to the Oregon Health Authority:
  • From 2003 to 2012,  256 people were killed in the context of intimate partner violence (IPV) in Oregon.
  • Most homicide victims were women and children.
  • More than 80% of female victims of intimate partner homicide were killed by their current spouses or boyfriends.
  • Most male victims are killed by someone other than an intimate partner.
  • Firearms are a common mechanism of death among IPV-related homicides.
“Today is a huge victory for Oregon families,” said Penny Okamoto, executive director of Ceasefire Oregon. “Convicted stalkers and abusers will no longer be able to purchase or possess guns. In addition, law enforcement now has the tools necessary to help prosecute prohibited purchasers who attempt to buy firearms illegally.”

Extremist pro-gun groups attempted to argue that a disgruntled girlfriend need only accuse her ex of abuse and his gun rights would be wrongly stripped from him. But that's a lie. They still have to be convicted of stalking or domestic abuse first.

HERE is a video of Governor Brown signing the bill into law outside the state Capitol, surrounded by hundreds of supporters including, in largest part, passionate teenagers who took off from their school day to show their support:

Both local and national gun control groups were pleased with the bill’s passage into law. “Today Oregon became a safer place to live,” said former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. “Guns and domestic violence are a deadly, tragic mix, something that Oregonians know all too well.”

To learn more about this new law, and related statistics, please visit the Ceasefire Oregon page for it, here:  https://www.ceasefireoregon.org/bills/hb4145/ 

Our thanks goes out to the Governor, the sponsors and supporters of this bill. Together, we are making a new trajectory for our society away from gun violence.