As you know, the Oregon Firearms Educational Foundation has filed a lawsuit against the Oregon University System for attempting to enforce illegal anti-gun rules.
Just as in the Medford School District, which threatened a teacher there for having a CHL, the Oregon University System has draconian anti-gun regulations that Oregon law does not allow them to adopt.
But, not content to wait until the courts rule on either case, OUS has sent out their hired hack, Neil Bryant, to try to convince the legislature to write new rules to strip license holders of their ability to be on University property.
Bryant was the Chair of the Senate Judiciary in 1999. He was one of the driving forces behind an attempt to ram through legislation to end private transfers at gun shows. This bill was actually supported by a "pro-gun" state group back then, and it was ignored by the NRA. OFF opposed it and it was defeated by one vote.
Now Bryant is back as a lobbyist trying to attack the rights of the most law-abiding people in the state, concealed handgun license holders.
It's interesting to note that while this hearing was a joint session of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees, the Chair of the House Committee, Jeff Barker, wanted no part of it. So he dismissed his committee when this issue came up. Only ultra-liberal House Rep Jefferson Smith stayed in the room. Smith commented that Oregon might be "better off" with a patchwork of different rules and laws in different places, a nightmare our "preemption" statute was passed to address.
Bryant told the Committee that college students should not be allowed to be on campus with lawfully owned guns because they drink too much. He asked what would happen if a bunch of drunken college students decided to "pass a gun around." He wondered aloud about what armed students would do if they "broke up with their girlfriend" or were "angry at a professor."
At no point did Bryant actually give an example of any problems on any college campuses. At no point did Bryant explain why these same students could be trusted off campus. But he did mention our lawsuits as the reason he was asking for new restrictions. (We can only conclude that the Oregon University System is convinced they will lose.)
Bryant also stated in the hearing that Jeff Maxwell, the Western Oregon University student who was unlawfully arrested for having a handgun on campus, was given a "public hearing." As many of you know, that's untrue. Maxwell was "tried" by a kangaroo court of students in a closed session where even Jeff's family was denied access.
Bryant suggested, and the Senate Committee agreed to the creation of a "work group" to try to come up with new laws to restrict gun rights on college property.
Bryant suggested that the group consist of legislators, school board members, officials from K-12 schools, district attorneys, campus security, police and sheriffs. Almost as an afterthought he said a representative from "gun rights group" should perhaps be invited. At that suggestion, Senator Susanne Bonamici said that if a pro-gun representative was included, she wanted someone from an anti-gun group like Ceasefire Oregon. (As if the deck were not stacked enough.) Neither Bryant nor any member of the committee suggested having any representation from student organizations.
There is no question that the anti-gun establishment is running scared and is working overtime to find a way to disarm license holders. It is essential that we act before this misguided movement can pick up steam.
Both the attempted gutting of SB 603 and the attack on gun rights on college property will likely be considered at the February "special session." Please contact the Senate Judiciary Committee and let them know that you will not stand for any attacks on your rights.
Chair Floyd Prozanski is the person who most needs to hear from you. It was he who agreed to put together the "work group" being assembled to craft these new restrictions.
If you are a student, or will be in the future, or if you have a child or grandchild who is a student, it is critical that Prozanski hear your voice. Remember, this is NOT just about colleges. If these efforts are successful, a parent with a CHL will not be allowed to pick up a child at school while in possession of a self defense firearm. Tell Prozanski that you want to be represented at this "work group." (You may even want to serve on it yourself.) This group will be forming immediately. You MUST act right away. A sample e-mail and contact info for Senator Prozanski follows:
900 Court St. NE, S-417
Salem, OR 97301
PO Box 11511
Eugene, OR 97440