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Technical Error Nearly Takes Down Oregon Gun Bills

<p>A gold pistol sits at the center of a display of rare and collectible handguns Tuesday at Northwest Armory in Portland, Ore. The high-end gun store sells handguns, hunting rifles and more to customers willing to go through a background check.</p>

David Gilkey

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A gold pistol sits at the center of a display of rare and collectible handguns Tuesday at Northwest Armory in Portland, Ore. The high-end gun store sells handguns, hunting rifles and more to customers willing to go through a background check.

Oregon lawmakers heard public testimony Monday on a set of bills to regulate guns, and a technical mistake nearly kept the bills from moving forward.

One bill would prohibit people who have a standing restraining order filed by their boyfriend or girlfriend from owning firearms. Currently, that law only applies to people who've lived together.

Multnomah County Sheriff Mike Reese testified in favor of the measure.

"Simply put, keeping guns out of the hands of abusers is the best way to prevent them from shooting and killing their victims," he said.

The measure would also delay a gun sale indefinitely if a person fails a background check. Another bill would require people at risk for suicide to turn over their weapons if their family members successfully seek a court order. And another bill would require people to attend a live fire training course before getting a concealed handgun license.

Jim Mitchell was one of many opponents who said the bills would penalize lawful gun owners.

"These are bills that are aimed at preventing the ownership of firearms. And that's about all you can say for them," said Mitchell.

The Senate Judiciary Committee did not immediately act on the measures.

Technically, the bills are all dead because the committee's chair, Sen. Floyd Prozanski, D-Eugene, did not carry over the measures to Tuesday's meeting. Policy bills are dead if not acted on by the end of the day Tuesday.

But the lack of action appears to be due to an oversight, rather than a lack of political support.

Much of the contents of the measures heard Monday will be introduced as an amendment to another bill being heard Tuesday, in a procedural move known around the state capitol as a "gut-and-stuff."

Copyright 2017 Oregon Public Broadcasting

Chris Lehman covers the Oregon state capitol for JPR as part of the Northwest News Network, a group of 12 Northwest public radio organizations which collaborate on regional news coverage. Chris graduated from Temple University with a journalism degree in 1997. He began his career producing arts features for Red River Public Radio in Shreveport, Louisiana and has been a reporter/announcer for NPR station WNIJ in DeKalb, Illinois. Chris has also reported from overseas, filing stories from Iraq, Burkina Faso, El Salvador, Northern Ireland, Zimbabwe and Uganda.