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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Oregon Legislature. This is a venue for political and policy coverage of the state government in Salem and its impact on the people of Oregon.

Oregon Gun Bills Advance, But Future Uncertain

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A day after the U.S. Senate voted down attempts to expand background checks for gun sales, a similar measure is moving ahead in the Oregon Senate. It was one of four bills to toughen state gun laws that advanced on a party line vote Thursday.

Here's what the Oregon bills would do:

  • Require background checks for private gun sales.
  • Allow school districts to ban guns.
  • Prohibit people from openly carrying weapons into public buildings such as the state capitol.
  • Require people who want a concealed handgun license to take a class.

Majority Democrats amended the measures to try to appeal to some critics. But those changes weren't enough for Republicans such as State Senator Betsy Close. "These amendments are directed at law abiding people who are already obeying the law."
The next stop for the bills will be the Senate floor, where Democrats hold a narrow edge. But Senate Judiciary Committee chair Floyd Prozanski says he's not sure whether there's enough support for them to pass. "It seems to be, let's say fluctuating, depending on who you're talking to at what time."

Prozanski says he expects the bills won't come up for a vote for at least a week.

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Bills under consideration by the Oregon Senate Judiciary Committee:

SB 347: Firearms on school grounds
SB 699: Firearms in public buildings
SB 700: Criminal background checks
SB 796: Concealed handgun licenses