Friday, August 7, 2015

Oregon Law Requiring Background Checks for Private Firearm Sales In Force Starting Sunday

The following is a statement released by Ceasefire Oregon:

On Sunday, August 9, the new law from the Oregon Firearms Safety Act (OFSA)  requiring background checks for almost all private firearm sales will take effect. Ceasefire Oregon welcomes the new law and looks forward to a reduction in firearms-related crime.

The OFSA will help to reduce gun violence by requiring background checks for all gun sales with the exceptions of certain family members and during temporary transfers. Background checks will prevent people who are legally prohibited from purchasing firearms from buying guns.

“Over the last 25 years, background checks in Oregon have prevented thousands of prohibited people from buying guns,” said Monica Kirk, a board member of Ceasefire Oregon and the Central Coast Chapter of Ceasefire Oregon. “OFSA won’t interfere with anyone lending a rifle to a friend during a hunting trip or permanently giving a gun to a family member. The purpose of this law is to stop felons and domestic abusers from getting guns and killing people. It’s that simple.”

Two sections of OFSA not related to background checks will also reduce gun violence:

  • Oregon judges are now allowed to  prohibit the purchase or possession of guns by people during outpatient treatment for mental health illnesses if the judge decides there is a reasonable likelihood the person would constitute a danger to self or others.
  • Oregon State Police are now authorized to notify local law enforcement when a person prohibited from buying a gun attempts to do so and fails the background check.

Michael DeLong, who leads Ceasefire Oregon’s Workgroup on Suicide Prevention added, “We are very happy that Section 11 was included in the bill. Judges and mental health professionals now have another way to reduce suicide by gun in Oregon.” DeLong added, “About 75 to 85% of all gunshot death in Oregon are suicides. We expect this law will save lives.”

When asked if people will comply with the law, Penny Okamoto, executive director of Ceasefire Oregon, noted that, according to a poll by Americans for Responsible Solutions, 83% of Oregon gun owners supported expanded background checks. “The vast majority of Oregonian gun sellers are responsible people who don’t want to arm criminals. Americans have seen far too many reports of domestic abusers who kill their families and stories about felons who commit crimes with guns. Now, if people willingly sell a gun to a criminal, the seller will be held accountable.”

With OFSA taking effect on Sunday, felons, domestic abusers and people who have been adjudicated mentally ill will not be able to purchase firearms on the West Coast of the United States from Washington State through California.