Hearings for gun safety bills draw supporters and detractors to - KPTV - FOX 12

Hearings for gun safety bills draw supporters and detractors to Salem

Posted: Updated: Apr 17, 2017 08:59 AM

It was a big day in Salem as lawmakers heard testimony on two senate bills addressing an always controversial subject - gun control.

Most members of the crowd at the hearings, some of whom were personally affected by gun violence, were in support of the bills.

The two bills at the center of the discussion were Senate Bill 797 and Senate Bill 868.

SB 797 would ban people convicted of stalking from buying or owning a gun until they finish probation. It also gives the Oregon State Police an indefinite period of time to run background checks before the sale of a firearm.

SB 868 would provide a mechanism to prevent someone determined by a court to be an “imminent risk” from obtaining a firearm.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, a supporter both bills, spoke out on how gun violence affects families around the state, noting the shooting at Umpqua Community College and the death last week of two young girls in Gresham.

"Gun violence devastates families and households throughout Oregon," she said, pledging support for two bills that hone in on gun control, one of her biggest priorities, and urging the senate panel to push the bills forward.

Also in attendance was a spokeswoman for the NRA, who contended the bills will hurt constitutional rights.

"An indefinite delay in a background check makes it impossible for a person to legally purchase a firearm," NRA state liaison Keely Hopkins said.

While many of the people in hearing had personally seen tragedies, Jenna Passalacqua may have been the only person in the room to see both types of gun violence.

Her mother died in the Clackamas Town Center Mall shooting, then, four years later, her dad used a gun to commit suicide.

"If I'd known that a tool like the extreme protective order was available, I would have used it and my dad probably wouldn't have been able to go buy a gun that day," she said.

According to the Senate president's office, the bills were not properly forwarded out of Monday's committee hearing before the deadline to do so passed.

The bills, under their proposed numbers, cannot move forward, however the laws they would have enacted can be added to other pieces of legislation that are moving forward, according to lawmakers. 

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