It’s one thing to have gun laws on the books which are supposed to improve our safety but it’s entirely different when they aren’t enforced. Such is the case with the recent “background check” law SB-941 that was recently passed in Oregon. This is proving to be problematic for the gun owner, law enforcement, and the judicial system.
There was a recent case in Oregon where a Pastor won an AR-15 in a raffle and was going to have it melted down and have it made into a piece of art. But along the way he decided to give it to a friend, for safe keeping, who had a gun safe in his house. By doing so he immediately violated the new SB941 gun law. How did he violate it? It’s an interesting story.
According to the SB-941, everyone in possession of a gun needs to have a background check performed. The pastor was informed of this and had one done…so far so good. But what he apparently didn’t have done was a background check on his buddy with the safe that was going to hold the rifle for safe keeping. By not having a background check performed on the buddy, the pastor was in violation of the law.
The pastor said he understood this and that he had violated the law…he came clean. But apparently it is now up to the Clackamas County District Attorney to decide whether they should prosecute the Pastor. From early indications, they aren’t very excited about enforcing the law. But some, like Representative Bill Post wants them to prosecute the Pastor. Not because he wants to punish the pastor but to point out just how unenforceable and silly this law really is to enforce. Stay tuned to see what happens…it sounds like the showdown at the OK Corral.
So what does this have to do with us and the laws in our state? The point I would like to make is that we have a variety of laws on our books as well that go unenforced. Not because the police and judicial system don’t want to, they don’t have the bandwidth of personnel. And not every police officer is aware of all the different gun laws that exist or knows exactly how to interpret them. So while they exist, they aren’t enforced.
Just because a law isn’t enforced, doesn’t mean gun owners should ignore it. If we do, then how do we know which laws the police and judicial system are going to enforce? Is it worth taking the chance and betting against the system where the result can be time in jail? I don’t think so and as a gun owner, this is our responsibility to know and obey the laws. Owning a firearm is a right and a responsibility…and this means understanding and obeying the laws as well.
We certainly have our own set of laws that don’t get actively enforced. Are you willing to take the chance on which ones they might be? As someone that advises citizens on the law and how to abide by it, I would highly recommend to every gun owner to understand and abide by all the gun laws. It is the right thing to do and helps you sleep better at night. And if you do, you will be living by my three primary recommendations…Be Prepared. Be Smart. Be Safe.