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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.

Firearm Background Check Bill Surfaces In Salem

Augustas Didzgalvis
A bill in the Oregon legislature would require criminal background checks for most private gun sales.

Oregon lawmakers are gearing up for another round of debate over firearm regulations.

Democrats introduced a measure Thursday that would require criminal background checks for most private gun sales.

If the proposal sounds familiar, it's because similar measures were introduced and failed in the last two legislative sessions. The difference now?

"It's all about the votes,” said bill co-sponsor state Senator Ginny Burdick, a Democrat. "We have the votes now and we did not have the votes before. That's the main difference."

The measure would require most people buying guns from individuals to submit to background checks. That's currently required only at dealers and at gun shows.

Opponents of the bill say background checks are simply a way to harass legitimate gun owners and that it's a step toward universal registration of firearms.

But those who want more background checks say without them, felons have a loophole for acquiring guns.