A portion of a gun-control measure that was approved earlier in 2021 by the Oregon Legislature went into effect over the weekend.
Oregon joined about a dozen other states this week in requiring gun owners to store their guns in a gun room or safe or use a trigger lock when it isn’t being carried under an individual’s control.
The measure also “authorizes city, county, metropolitan service district, port operating commercial airport, school district, college or university to adopt ordinance or policy limiting or precluding affirmative defense for possession of firearms in public buildings by concealed handgun licensees,” according to the text of the legislation.
The measure also stipulates that a firearm isn’t considered secure if a key or the combination code to a cable lock, trigger lock, or storage container is easily accessible or available to a person that the gun’s owner hasn’t authorized to control the firearm. The measure also criminalizes leaving a handgun unattended in a vehicle and it’s within view of people outside the vehicle.
According to the Statesman Journal, the safe-storage mandate doesn’t apply if the owner of the gun is alone in their home or with other individuals who are allowed to use the firearm.
Those who violate the law can face civil infractions of up to $500. However, if a minor gains access to the firearm due to improper storage under the new law, the penalty increases to $2,000.
Gun dealers in Oregon also must post a notice that tells customers: “The purchaser of a firearm has an obligation to store firearms in a safe manner and to prevent unsupervised access to a firearm by a minor. If a minor or unauthorized person obtains access to a firearm and the owner failed to store the firearm in a safe manner, the owner may be in violation of the law.”
If the gun owner violates the new law and if the gun is used to injure a person or property within two years, the injured party can file a civil lawsuit against the gun owner.
The law went into effect after a Republican-led referendum petition to overturn the legislation wasn’t successful, two lawmakers confirmed last week.
“I would say it was COVID that was the issue in getting this over the finish line,” state Rep. David Brock Smith, a Republican, told Oregon Public Broadcasting. “I do want to thank those that were committed to getting the message out and collecting the signatures.”
Another petitioner, Republican state Rep. E. Werner Reschke, said the law will be harmful to law-abiding gun owners.
“If we want to stop bills that harm Oregonians from being rammed through the legislature, then we need better district lines to reflect and represent the views of all Oregonians,” he told the outlet.
Representatives for The Gun Owners of America didn’t immediately respond to a request by The Epoch Times for comment.