The Office of Government Relations', Portland's lobbyists', 2015 Legislative Agenda.
Oregon Senate Votes to Close Background-Check Loophole for Firearm Sales
TUESDAY, APRIL 14, 2014 – A measure that would require criminal background checks for private gun transfers passed the Oregon Senate today. The issue now moves to the House for consideration.
“Today’s vote on background checks for gun sales will make Oregon safer,” said Mayor Charlie Hales, who testified on behalf of the bill. “This is such a simple, common-sense decision. I thank our senators for their leadership on this issue.”
Senate Bill 941 requires background checks on firearms sales and transfers between private individuals. Oregon would be the 12th state to adopt such a policy. Background checks already are required for people who buy guns from licensed dealers and at gun shows. However, private sales, including the popular online sales sites, now would fall under the regulations.
Those who cannot buy firearms – but who may use existing loopholes to do so – include domestic abusers and those committed for mental-health treatment.
Hales praised senators for their leadership, including Sen. Ginny Burdick of Portland, who has been a champion of background checks for years.
“Sen. Burdick has been fighting to reduce the illegal use of guns in Oregon. We back her 100 percent, and we thank her for her leadership,” Hales said.
“I am proud to be a member of the Oregon Senate today,” said Burdick, a chief sponsor of the bill and longtime advocate for gun safety. “By passing universal background checks, we are honoring the wishes of the overwhelming majority of Oregonians who want to prevent criminals and the dangerously mentally ill from getting easy access to guns.”
The bill originated in the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is chaired by Sen. Floyd Prozanski of Eugene. "This legislation will prevent felons from having easy access to guns by closing the loophole in Oregon’s 25-year-old background check law for purchasing firearms," Prozanski said. "The ease with which felons can currently purchase guns on the internet is a serious threat to public safety. Senate Bill 941 is reasonable, well-vetted legislation that will help keep Oregon communities safe."
Mayor Hales Testifies in Favor of Universal Background Checks
Update: Watch Mayor Hales' testimony on video. Start at 5 minutes, 8 seconds.
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 1, 2015 — Mayor Charlie Hales this morning was at the Oregon Legislature testifying in support of Senate Bill 941, which would expand background checks to private gun purchases.
"Criminals acquire guns in many different ways. Through private sales, law-abiding people can unknowingly sell guns to criminals," Mayor Hales said. "No law-abiding person wants to sell a gun to someone who's going to hurt someone else in a gang confrontation, drug sale or other crime, or themselves in a suicide.
"Ultimately," Mayor Hales told the Senate Judiciary Committee, "the single most important thing we can do to reduce gun violence is to require a criminal background check for every gun sale. Universal background checks are a tool to help law-abiding people sell their guns responsibly, and the consequences are an incentive to do so."
Everytown for Gun Safety reports that in the 17 states and District of Columbia that have universal background checks, 48 percent fewer on-duty police officers are shot and killed, and 48 percent fewer people commit suicide with guns.
"With the recent increase in gang violence in Portland, ensuring people with criminal records or domestic violence restraining orders have a difficult time obtaining guns is critical," the mayor said.
The Portland Police Bureau and other law enforcement say more hurdles to acquiring guns reduces their numbers on the streets, and makes cities safer for everyone.
Senate Bill 941 would also authorize a judge to prohibit individuals ordered to participate in outpatient treatment from purchasing or possessing a firearm if they pose a danger to themselves or others.
Last fall, in less than one month Portland saw three suicides by firearm. In 2013, there were 98 suicides in Portland; firearms were found at the scene of 39 of them.
"That means 40 percent of Portland suicides in 2013 involved firearms -- 40 percent," Mayor Hales said. "Background checks on private sales would close a loophole so it's more difficult for people who are a danger to themselves to acquire guns."
It's time to put an end to these loopholes in gun sales.
More on Mayor Hales' gun control priorities: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/mayor/article/517601
Mayor Hales Testifies in Support of Legislation to Enable Body Camera Use
Update: Watch Mayor Hales' testimony online. Start at 24 minutes, 40 seconds.
TUESDAY, MARCH 24, 2015 — Mayor Charlie Hales this morning was in Salem at the Oregon Legislature testifying in support of on-body cameras for the Portland Police Bureau. State legislation, House Bill 2571, is needed in order to adjust state privacy laws to allow for body cameras.
Mayor Hales discussed how on-body cameras are a tool for accountability, and how that must be balanced with transparency of information and privacy of citizens.
Accountability: Video footage of police use-of-force incidents and police-citizen interactions provides an objective perspective — a primary interest among Portlanders who have contacted the Mayor's Office regarding body cameras. While cameras are restricted by the technology's capabilities (audio and video range), they add important information to investigations into officer conduct. Portland officers who piloted on-body cameras also said that people tended to calm down when they learned they were being recorded.
"Video footage would serve both community trust and officer accountability," Mayor Hales said.
Transparency: The bill requires law enforcement agencies that wish to use body cameras to create a local policy that requires continuous recording beginning when an officer engages in a law enforcement action. This stipulation is intended to minimize officer discretion regarding when the camera is on and what gets recorded — among the top concerns for Portlanders.
Privacy: "Law enforcement personnel are first responders, there at some of citizens’ most vulnerable moments," Mayor Hales said. "These moments should not be available for broadcast on the 5 o’clock news, or published on YouTube. The law must balance accountability and transparency with the critical preservation of citizen privacy."
Portland Police are collecting public input to inform Portland's body camera policy. Provide your feedback here: http://www.portlandoregon.gov/police/article/521411
Mayor Hales Connects with Lawmakers in Salem
FRIDAY, FEB. 27, 2015 — Mayor Charlie Hales spent Thursday morning in Salem, connecting with legislators about Portland interests.
He sat down with Gov. Kate Brown to talk about state transportation funding; background checks for guns; and state funding for a psychiatric emergency services center in Portland. More on the mayor's priorities for those topics: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/mayor/article/517520
Mayor Hales also:
- Met with Sen. Floyd Prozanski of Eugene regarding background checks on guns and managing recreational marijuana legalization.
- With Sen. Ginny Burdick of West Portland, he talked about managing legalized marijuana and their mutual advocacy gun control: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/mayor/article/517601.
- Sen. Lee Beyer of Springfield and the mayor discussed state transportation funding.
- He sat down with Rep. Ann Lininger of Lake Oswego to discuss managing legalized marijuana.
- And he met with Rep. Jennifer Williamson of West Portland about body cameras for police, a priority for the police bureau that requires state action.
The mayor also attended meeting of League of Oregon Cities at the Salem Convention Center, and spoke with other mayors on issues that affect all Oregon cities, including transportation funding and marijuana.
2015 Oregon Legislative Session Begins
MONDAY, FEB. 23, 2015 — This week Mayor Charlie Hales heads to Salem to advocate for the city's legislative agenda at the Oregon Legislature.
Portland needs the state to take action on several of the mayor's top priorities to ensure safety and maintain the city's assets. He will be advocating for:
Here is the city's full legislative agenda: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/ogr/article/510982.
Other priorities include:
- Affordable housing
- On-body cameras for police officers
- Earned sick leave
- Minority- and women-owned business enterprises contracting integrity
- Children's Services District
- Fixed-photo radar
- Brownfield cleanup
- Reconnect Forest Park
- Seismic retrofit financing
- Recreational marijuana management
- Support for rural communities