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Oregon Senator Doug Whitsett, 4/29/11 newsletter on constitutional right to bear arms

Both the Oregon and the U.S. Constitutions unambiguously secure the right for the people to bear arms. Section 27 of the Oregon Constitution states: “The people shall have the right to bear arms for the defense of themselves, and the State, but the Military shall be kept in strict subordination to the civil power”.  The second amendment to the U.S. Constitution states: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed”.

 The intent of our nation’s founders is well documented by their writings.

Thomas Jefferson: “The constitutions of most of our states assert that all power is inherent in the people; that…it is their right and duty to be at all times armed.”

James Madison: “The advantage of being armed…the Americans possess over the people of all other nations”.

Patrick Henry “The great object is that every man be armed….Everyone who is able may have a gun”.

 Three important handgun bills were passed by the Oregon House of Representatives with wide bipartisan support. I strongly support all three bills as currently written.
HB 2787-A prohibits any public body from disclosing information that identifies the holder of, or an applicant for, a concealed handgun license.
The bill passed 42-18 with no Republican dissent.

HB 2792-A deals with reciprocity of concealed carry permits.  It provides nonresidents who are authorized to carry a concealed handgun in another state with the same protections that are provided to persons with an Oregon concealed handgun license. The bill passed 40-17 with no Republican dissent.

HB 2797 defines a “readily accessible handgun” when carried on motorcycles, ATV’s and snowmobiles. It makes clear that any restrictions do not apply to a person licensed to carry a concealed weapon and that firearms carried openly in belt holsters are not concealed weapons when carried on these vehicles. It states that a handgun is not readily accessible if the handgun is in a locked container attached to the vehicle or equipped with a trigger lock that prevents the firearm from discharging. The bill does not establish restrictions on possessing or carrying long barreled weapons. Further, it defines an unloaded weapon as having no live cartridge in the firing chamber. The bill passed 58-0.

 The Senate Judiciary Committee held the first hearings on the three bills Thursday April 28, 2011. The unambiguous discussion of specific conceptual amendments during those hearings appears to make clear the intent of the Senate Democrat majority to significantly amend the three bills. The conceptual amendments, apparently drafted by Committee Chair Prozanski, were not available to the Republican members of the committee.

 As currently written the three bills are broadly supported by Senate Republicans and some Senate Democrats. We know that we have more than enough votes to pass these bills in the Oregon Senate.

 Unfortunately, it appears that some Senate Democrats continue to block their passage. In fact, the Senate Democrat majority blocked the passage of several senate gun-rights bills earlier in the session including Senate Bill 582 that I introduced.  That bill was virtually the same as
HB 2787-A that prohibits disclosure of information regarding the applicant for or holder of a concealed weapon license.

 One old and well used method to kill a bill is to amend it with a poison pill. It now appears that some Democrat Senators are working hard, in concert with certain anti-gun activist groups, to amend the bills to make them unsupportable by those of us in both parties that support our constitutional right to own and bear arms.

Please remember, if we do not stand up for rural Oregon, no one will.

Best regards,



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