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Gomberg votes no on off-target gun bill

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DEAD EYE DAVE GOMBERG
As a gun-owning Democrat, State Rep. David Gomberg christened a new target range at a Boy Scout Camp, above. Gomberg voted ‘no’ Thursday to a sweeping new gun-control bill that would lock-up firearms, hike fees, create new gun-free zones and make gun owners liable for stolen weapons. (Boy Scouts of America photo)

SALEM — A new law that could have costly impacts for law-abiding gun owners is headed back to the state senate after passing 34-24 in the Oregon House of Representatives Thursday, May 29.

The bill, SB-554B, is named the “Cindy Yuille and Steve Forsyth Act” for victims of a 2012 shooting at Clackamas Town Center where the shooter used a stolen semi-automatic rifle. The bill also cites suicide statistics, saying gloomy Oregon is among the top top-ranked states to off oneself. Portrayed as a safe-storage gun law, it would require owners to store firearms under lock and key or to be close enough to an unlocked weapon to beat someone else to it.

But the 23-page bill is packed tight as a cartridge case with other conditions, causing three Democrats to break ranks and vote ‘no,’ including local state representative David Gomberg of House District 10. Following the 34-24 vote, he explained the bill and why he is against it.

“I am a supporter of the Second Amendment, but I am also a supporter of common-sense gun laws,” remarked Gomberg. “I believe responsible gun owners should secure firearms so that children do not have access to them. That said, I have some major concerns about this legislation.”

Gomberg cited concerns over enforcement and fee increases that double the cost of concealed handgun licenses (CHL). He also didn’t like a section that exposes gun owners to liability for damages caused by stolen guns.

“I am troubled about enforceability,” he said. “How do we confirm that firearms in private homes are safely stored without violating that privacy? Will reasonable people stop to secure firearms when they leave the house to walk the dog or cut the grass? And I’m troubled by provisions that hold owners liable in some circumstances for future injuries if a gun is stolen.”

Triggered by riots and pandemic concerns, over seven million guns were sold last year nationally. At Lincoln City Sporting Goods, more than 2,400 firearms were sold in March, 2020, according to owner Bruce Polvi.

Gun buyers besieged dealer Bruce Polvi (above) of Lincoln City Sporting Goods following news of the Coronavirus pandemic, ordering nearly 2,400 firearms and causing a massive backlog of background checks. (Photo by Rick Beasley)
Gun buyers besieged dealer Bruce Polvi (above) of Lincoln City Sporting Goods following news of the Coronavirus pandemic, ordering nearly 2,400 firearms and causing a massive backlog of background checks. (Photo by Rick Beasley)

“We also sold 750,000 rounds of ammunition,” Polvi stated. “A lot of them were first-time buyers who were surprised to learn that we actually have a background check. The media has built up the impression that we don’t have them.”

Meanwhile, $50 applications for the CHL — which requires professional training and a sweeping criminal background check — are backlogged at the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office.

“Fee increases for law-abiding Oregonians have not been fully justified to my satisfaction,” remarked Gomberg. “I also don’t like that the new bill now has an Emergency Clause that lets it take effect immediately rather than leave the option for opponents to try and gather signatures and refer it to the ballot.”

Opponents of the bill argued it would do little to stop bad actors while turning peaceable gun owners and sportsmen into criminals. Kevin Starrett of the Oregon Firearms Federation pointed to the provision allowing public agencies — schools, airports, cities and counties — to ban lawfully concealed weapons from their buildings and “adjacent properties,” where they are currently allowed.

“It’s so broad that every time you get in your car and go on a hunting trip and drive by a public building you risk five years in prison,” he said. “If you pick up your kids at school or drop somebody off at the airport, it’s a felony.”

In a last-minute change, legislators dropped the emergency clause that would have blocked a statewide vote on the package. The bill will now return in its amended version to the state senate for a final vote.

At Lincoln City Sporting Goods, weapons specialist Zeke Olsen unveiled an M14-style semi-automatic rifle mounted with a variable scope and cheek rest that proved a top seller during the pandemic gun boom. (Photo by Rick Beasley)
At Lincoln City Sporting Goods, weapons specialist Zeke Olsen unveiled an M14-style semi-automatic rifle mounted with a variable scope and cheek rest that proved a top seller during the pandemic gun boom. (Photo by Rick Beasley)

Rick Beasley
Rick Beasley is a simple writer who collects sniper rifles for a hobby. During an astonishing publishing career that spans five decades and continues at Lincoln City Homepage, he has collected 17 awards for excellence in journalism from various organizations including nine first-place Best Writing awards from the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association.

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5 COMMENTS

  1. These laws wouldn’t do anything but cause law abiding citizens to become felons over night. Then they would be the only ones to be prosecuted. The criminals would get another pass but I’m sure that there’s an exemption for law enforcement officers.

  2. Current gun laws are adequate now. New laws are going to be virtually unenforceable,
    there are never going to be truly safe places, even airports.
    Keeping criminals in jail longer, or at all, would be the best approach.
    No one is keeping anti-gun persons from moving to somewhere, like China, or
    some other country where the populace has no defense against unjust governments,
    or lawlessness. I’m not responsible for someone else’s criminality, what if someone steals
    my car and drives down a sidewalk with it? More knee jerk bs from the freakout crowd.

  3. Very good well stated Pat C am a 100% in favor 2nd amendment rights. There is to many gun laws out there now they just need to start enforcing them. Have gun checks at malls and large stores with detection. I feel a lot of our gov. cares more about getting there votes for office than for what was set forth buy our four fathers and vets. that fought for our rights and freedom.

  4. Trying to impose Communism on the United States of America with gun laws, taking away our religious rights, defunding Police, No Law and Order, Masks are essential, Vaccines “experimental” mandatory, no flags, no open businesses, all Communism and America will have no part in it. We stand by our Constitution. We have the right to choose our own government and not by fraud, we have the right to any Church we want to attend. You will not take away our RIGHTS.Our guns are part of our rights.
    frankspeech.com for all the truth.

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