As expected, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown signed universal background check measure SB 941, also known as “The Oregon Firearms Safety Act,” into law Monday.
“We have an obligation to protect Oregonians from gun violence,” Brown said brown at the signing, as OregonLive reported. “If we want to keep our kids, schools and communities safe, we must make it harder for dangerous people to get guns.”
Under the language of SB 941, background checks are required on the majority of private sales and transfers. Failure to comply with the law could result in a year in jail a $6,250 fine or both. Second time offenders face a $250,000 fine, up to 10 years in prison or both.
However, there are exemptions for “family members, law enforcement, inherited firearms and certain temporary transfers” (e.g. temporary transfer at a gun range or during a hunting trip).
The passage of SB 941 was a big victory for gun control organizations, including American for Responsible Solutions, the group founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her husband Mark Kelly.
“Today, Oregon became a safer place to live and joined a growing list of states that have had what Congress has not: the courage to stand up to the gun lobby,” the couple said in a statement.
Opponents of the measure argued that it would do virtually nothing to stop criminals from obtaining firearms.
“The good intentions behind Senate Bill 941 do not change the fact that it is a deeply flawed and unenforceable piece of legislation that targets responsible, law-abiding Oregonians,” said Rep. Mike McLane, the top Republican in the House.
The National Rifle Association echoed those thoughts, pointing out that bad guys don’t purchase firearms through legal channels.
“The vast majority of criminals get their guns through theft, the black market, straw purchases or from friends and family members,” said Catherine Mortensen in a statement, not from sales subject to a background check.