Oregon lawmakers are considering new gun control laws. Normally this Washington citizen wouldn’t be concerned with Oregon lawmakers. However, these kinds of (leftist/liberal/progressive) ideas have a distressing tendency to just keep moving up the West Coast, first from California, then to Oregon, ultimately arriving in Washington state’s own crazytown, Olympia.
Right on cue, 2018 gave us Washington’s Initiative 1639, modeled after — ahem — California, containing even more onerous restrictions. Then 2019 gives us Gov. Jay Inslee’s half-dozen new gun laws. (Have you heard he’s running for president?)
These clearly unconstitutional laws will never survive a Supreme Court test, but there will be decades of litigation required first.
Among the idiocies in the new laws: a provision that would penalize gun owners who fail to safely store their weapons at home if said weapon is later stolen and used in a crime. This assumes that the government would somehow know whether or not a gun had been safely stored. How, exactly, would they know whether or not the criminal had defeated the storage lock, something burglars do regularly? Can the word of the burglar really be trusted?
Washington’s new laws tighten regulations for 3D printed weapons and other untraceable firearms, requiring those who build such weapons to pass a background check. Again, how is the government going to know if someone is building a 3D printed gun or other untraceable firearm? If someone doesn’t want government to know he is building a firearm (hence the concept of “untraceable”), might he avoid telling any government official?
It’s probably too much to ask, but shouldn’t legislators have to pass some test before running for elected office — such as having the common sense of a 5-year-old?
Then there’s Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, who supports the new restrictions, saying that,“ ... Common sense gun control is the first step to preventing gun violence from devastating families and households throughout the state of Oregon. Just as it’s important to wear a seat belt or a helmet, it’s critical that people keep their guns safely stored when not in use, particularly when children are in the home.”
“Critical” enough to violate the Constitution, Governor?
“Common sense gun control” is the “virtue-signaling” catch phrase of gun-banners throughout not just Oregon and Washington, but anywhere they can get power over fellow citizens.
I’m glad I don’t live in those areas, although Oregon’s legislators and governor are sounding like those on the west side of my own Washington state.
Fortunately, I live on the east side. Here, “common sense” means having a gun for your own protection, and knowing how to use it. We also know to store it safely away from children because we are — ahem — adults, and don’t need the government telling us what we can (or can’t) do with our own private property in our own private homes.
Oregon’s legislative proposals were prompted by a 2012 shooting in Clackamas, where a 22-year-old man stole an “assault-style” weapon from a friend’s apartment and shot up a mall near Portland, killing two before killing himself. Victims’ families were upset that the “friend” he stole the weapon from could not be prosecuted under existing law.
Why should he? By the definition of “theft,” he did not “give” this crazy person the gun. The “friend” also likely didn’t know that the guy was going to steal his gun. If he had, the “friend” would probably have been a little “unfriendly” and had him arrested. The “friend” also probably didn’t know that the gun thief intended to go shoot up a shopping mall and kill people. If he had known, said “friend” could be prosecuted under many (already existing) laws dealing with conspiracy to commit and/or being an accomplice to premeditated murder.
If someone steals your car and runs over your neighbor, killing him, should you be held responsible and prosecuted because you didn’t adequately secure your car? How about if we suppose one of your friends’ children steals your kitchen butcher knife and stabs a neighbor kid? Shouldn’t you be held responsible and prosecuted for not having locked up all of your kitchen knives?
Of course not; those scenarios would be silly and ridiculous.
Leaving aside the obvious mental derangement of the Clackamas shooter, storage (and method of storage) of anything (not just guns) within one’s property should be left to the property owner. This is a basic, constitutionally protected American right.
Legislators’ knee-jerk reactions to guns or gun types, and legislating their storage are not “common sense”; they are ludicrous. As is Washington’s presidential candidate.
Rogers of Clarkston is a retired manager at CCI-Speer (now Vista Outdoor). His email address is email@example.com.