Oregon Governor Kate Brown jumped into the spotlight last summer when she issued a trio of Executive Actions aimed at restricting Oregonians’ civil rights. One of the orders had to do with the approval of background checks by the Oregon State Police. Currently the OSP must notify a gun dealer by the end of the dealer’s next business day that a person is prohibited, or the dealer can deliver the gun to the person. The presumption is that the person should be able to take possession of the gun UNLESS the background check, completed in a timely manner, reveals a prohibiting condition.
Brown’s executive action removed the time frame for the OSP, allowing them to dilly-dally and stomp on a person’s fundamental rights just because they feel like it, or because they claim to be overworked, or because their recordkeeping might not be up to par.
Two measures, Senate Bill 797 and House Bill 2237, filed at Brown’s behest, codify this executive action and expand it. Under their provisions, the burden is now shifted to the person attempting to exercise their Second Amendment right. Gun dealers are prohibited from transferring a firearm to a person unless they have a unique approval number from the OSP. Nothing in the bill gives any kind of deadline for the OSP. There is no appeal process for this indefinite delay - since it’s stuck in a never-ending “processing” status - which violates the due process rights of Oregonians.
Brown expects gun owners to fully comply with a maze of state and federal laws to prove their eligibility to own a firearm, then sit quietly until the OSP issues a magic authorization number - while criminals chuckle and obtain their guns outside the system.
Additionally, the bills also address another issue Brown spotlighted last summer, the so-called “boyfriend loophole.” This is part of a nationwide push by anti-gun forces like former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg to manipulate the very serious and real issue of domestic abuse in order to expand gun control.
It's all in the details; these measures seek to take the common definition of “intimate partner” and expand it to include a very far-reaching and broad definition of “family member” with respect to restraining orders - and expand it to the point of ridiculousness, hoping that no one would catch it or call them on it given the seriousness of the surrounding issue.
Instead of listing out specific criteria for who meets the definition of “family member,” this bill adopts a more global definition of “family or household member” which is used in other sections of Oregon codes:
"Family or household members" means any of the following:
(b) Former spouses.
(c) Adult persons related by blood or marriage.
(d) Persons cohabiting with each other.
(e) Persons who have cohabited with each other or who have been involved in a sexually intimate relationship.
(f) Unmarried parents of a minor child.”
Under this definition, anyone you’ve ever been involved in a sexually intimate relationship with can request a restraining order against you and deprive you of your Second Amendment rights. It’s kinda easy to see how this can be misused and potentially even put the subject of the restraining order in harm’s way.
Even more bizarre is that if you have a roommate, or have ever had a roommate, you have “cohabited” with them - and now that person has the right to seek a domestic violence restraining order against you.
The broadness of this definition is extremely problematic. There are no time frames or other qualifications, meaning that potentially someone you had a fling with in college can seek a domestic violence restraining order against you years later, or that a distant relative or former in-law has the same standing an actual intimate partner, spouse or domestic partner does.
It’s clear from Kate Brown’s rhetoric that she really, really doesn’t like gun owners - and is willing to stomp on the Constitution to prove it.