Allows local jurisdictions to decide whether to allow guns in public buildings
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- An Oregon Senate bill sponsored by Democratic lawmakers would let local jurisdictions potentially ban handguns in public places, which critics say would take away some of the protected freedoms associated with a concealed carry permit.
On Monday, a packed, yet virtual public hearing on Senate Bill 554 lasted nearly four hours. Oregonians on both sides of the issue voiced their concerns. About 1,000 written testimonies were submitted, about 100 from Central Oregonians.
"Now is the time to protect our public spaces from gun violence," wrote supporter Jean Carlton of Bend. "We must not be deterred by emotional claims that guns in public spaces either protect anyone or preserve our democracy."
Joyce Waring of Redmond opposed the bill, stating, "I am very concerned about the erosion of our rights in this country, and in particular, our gun rights. I see no benefit to this law."
The bill will make its way to the Senate floor for a vote in a few weeks.
Sen. Tim Knopp, R-Bend, strongly opposes the bill.
"What Senate Bill 554 does is it makes felons out of people who have concealed carry permits," Knopp told NewsChannel 21 on Thursday. “It will be impossible for someone who has a concealed carry permit to actually carry to defend themselves and their family.”