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Oregon AG testifies in support of stronger gun laws

Credit: Defense Distributed

Attorney General Rosenblum said that her focus is on 3-D printed firearms and other 'ghost guns.'

Posted: Apr 2, 2019 11:49 AM
Updated: Apr 2, 2019 2:59 PM

SALEM, Ore. — Speaking before the Oregon Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, state Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum voiced her support for a bill that would strengthen a number of gun laws.

While the omnibus gun bill (SB 978) includes a number of changes to Oregon laws pertaining to firearms, Rosenblum focused on the issue of "ghost guns."

“Like many of you, I am increasingly concerned about the growing incidents of undetectable and untraceable guns that can be built with a 3D printer, or by purchasing the physical parts and using a few common tools, to build your own ‘ghost gun’,” said AG Rosenblum. “What I am talking about is a person who can build a semi-automatic weapon all in the privacy of their own home. And, the scariest part? Both of these classifications of guns have no serial number, do not require a background check, and there is no way they can be traced by law enforcement.”

In addition to adding new restrictions on gun storage, transfers, liability, and minimum age, the bill would require that anyone who builds a 3D-printed gun would have to pass a background check. The bill would also require that "ghost guns" receive serial numbers.

“Ghost guns are a real and dangerous menace, and allow individuals to lawfully purchase or manufacture a firearm despite a prior violent felony, all without a background check or serial number,” testified AG Rosenblum. “Senate Bill 978 closes this dangerous loophole by imposing the established background check requirements and serialization expectations on both 3-D printed firearms and unfinished receivers. It also enhances expectations of safety by outlawing the possession of any firearm built to avoid metal detectors. These are important and common sense protections that will enhance our public safety, and I urge the Oregon legislature to support this bill.”

According to Rosenblum's office, plans for 3D-printed guns can easily be found online and downloaded, allowing anyone with a 3D printer to make one. The term "ghost gun" describes a similar, but distinct item — where a person can purchase parts and instructions for common firearms "such as the AR-15" and then assemble them at home without having to incorporate a serial number or pass a background check.

Having watched the process of constructing an AR-15 in a video, Rosenblum remarked on the apparent ease of the process. “Even I could do it,” she said.

Governor Kate Brown threw her support behind both House (HB 2013) and Senate versions of the bill on Tuesday afternoon, urging lawmakers to pass both bills.

"Gun violence tears apart our communities, devastating families and households throughout Oregon. We all know that while mass shootings make headlines, it is all too common that gun violence occurs behind closed doors," said Governor Brown. "Every session, I am proud that we are able to make progress to ensure that every Oregonian can be safe from gun violence. We have accomplished a lot, but we have more work to do."

State Republican lawmakers have trumpeted their disapproval of the bills, calling them "both disturbing and unwarranted" in a statement released on Monday.

“As usual, the Democrats are going after people who follow the rules," said House Republican Leader Carl Wilson (R-Grants Pass). "Bills like these target the compliant, while the Second Amendment suffers death by a thousand cuts. These bills only breed cynicism in responsible gun owners.”

Opposition to the bill has primarily taken aim at the gun storage, transfers, and minimum age aspects of the bill, rather than the "ghost gun" aspect underlined by Rosenblum.

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