UPDATE: Oregon State Closes Intimate Partner Loophole for Gun Ownership

The law will expand previous restrictions on gun ownership for those with certain restraining orders or convictions against them.

Posted: Feb. 23, 2018 11:13 AM
Updated: Mar. 5, 2018 10:10 AM

UPDATE:   Governor Brown is set to sign HB 4145 into law at 1:30 p.m. today, according to a press release from her office. The signing will be preceded by a meeting with Oregon students regarding gun and school safety.

SALEM, Ore. — A bill proposed by Governor Kate Brown passed the Oregon Senate yesterday—meaning that it will return to the Governor for signing into law. House Bill 4145 is intended to close the so-called "intimate partner loophole," or "boyfriend loophole," prohibiting people with active restraining orders or certain convictions from owning firearms or ammunition.

Anyone with a restraining order which addresses the stalking, intimidating, molesting or menacing of an intimate partner, their family or children, will be barred from gun ownership. The restriction also applies to people convicted of certain misdemeanors—if the crime involved the victimization of a similar intimate partner.

These restrictions are not new—but previously, they only applied when the relationship between the two parties involved was somehow legally enshrined. If the two people were married, living together, or had children, then a similar law passed in 2015 would apply, according to The Oregonian. Now those restrictions can be applied when the relationship between two people is a little more nebulous, which the "intimate partner" language is meant to address. Thus, the topic's other nickname—the "boyfriend loophole." Previously, a boyfriend censured for domestic abuse could be immune to restrictions on the ownership of firearms. Yet the language of HB 4145 aims to be more inclusive, addressing more than boyfriends alone.

Law enforcement will be required to log records of such restraining orders and convictions as soon as they happen—so that the records will appear on background check reports if someone barred from gun ownership tries to buy a gun. The bill also includes language which would similarly flag gun purchase attempts when the buyer is subject to the Psychiatric Security Review Board, notifying the Board of an attempt to purchase.

A press release from the Governor's office said that Governor Brown praised the "bipartisan support of sensible legislation to prevent violence by a firearm." Yet with a handful of exceptions, the bill passed along party lines—with Democrats supporting the bill, and Republicans opposing it. Only Senator Betsy Johnson (D - Scappoose) broke with her party to vote against the measure in the Senate, and there were several members of the House who crossed party lines.

Any convictions or orders which are overturned, expunged, or otherwise dissolved will lift the restrictions described in this bill.

"'We need national action and federal legislation,'" said Governor Brown, "'Now's the time to enact real change, and I'm encouraged to see students in Oregon and across the nation engaged and joining the call for gun safety legislation. It's long past time we hold the White House, Congress, and legislators accountable.'"

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