SB 554 was heard Monday at the Capitol in the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Ballot Measure 110 Implementation.
“Concealed carry license holders are some of the most upstanding people in our state,” said Senator Kim Thatcher (R-Keizer), who is Vice-Chair of the Committee. “These people are the ones you would want to be your neighbors and friends because they protect their families and others around them. The last thing we should be doing is discouraging people from helping keep our communities safe by creating an inconsistent standard of laws across the state.”
SB 554 allows local governments and municipalities to regulate when and where concealed handgun licensees would be able to protect themselves and others. Someone carrying legally and safely with a concealed handgun permit could end up committing several crimes in the course of running errands on a Tuesday afternoon, instantly turning them into criminals.
According to Social Science Research Network, less than one-hundredth of one percent (.0074%) of Oregon concealed handgun license holders (CHL) commit felonies. The majority of which were unlikely to have involved a firearm. The FBI has indicated that nearly 3.2% of active shooter situations are stopped with someone with a concealed carry license. Other researchers have put that number as high as 16.5%.
“Thanks to our rigorous concealed carry licensing program in Oregon, CHL holders are the good guys with guns,” Senate Republican Leader Fred Girod (R-Lyons) said. “This bill is a ‘solution’ in search of a problem. The sponsors have failed to bring forth any evidence that this bill would make anyone safer. It would do the opposite. With violent crime on the rise, we can’t afford to severely curtail Oregonians’ right to self-defense.”
The bill also raises fees on CHL applications and renewals.
“Increasing gun violence has had a disproportionate impact on low-income and minority communities,” Girod continued. “The only thing increased fees will do is put the right of self-defense out of reach for these people. Wealthy and middle-class families won’t be deterred from protecting themselves and their families.
“Every life lost to gun violence is a tragedy. If we want to solve the issue of gun violence, CHL holders are the wrong place to look. Let’s follow the data.”
Monday’s public hearing set a session-record for the number of people who submitted testimony against a bill.