Oregon governor signs gun background check bill

Reuters News
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Posted: May 12, 2015 3:20 AM

(Reuters) - Oregon Governor Kate Brown on Monday signed into law a bill that will require background checks on nearly all gun buyers in the state.

The Oregon Firearms Safety Act expands background check requirements, already in place at stores and gun shows in the state, to include person-to-person and online gun sales.

"The bill provides a common-sense approach to accomplishing that goal without interfering with the lawful right of citizens to bear arms," said Brown, a Democrat who took office in February after her predecessor resigned in an influence-peddling scandal.

The bill provides several exemptions, including gun loans for usage at shooting ranges or for hunting, or transfers between family members.

Supporters say that tighter background checks are key to preventing violence by people already prohibited from owning guns, such as those with domestic violence or felony convictions.

It was vehemently opposed however by gun rights advocates and the state Republican Party, which decried as excessive the fines and potential jail time violators could face.

Oregon is now that eighth state to require universal background checks, according to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, including six that have taken action since the 2012 killings at the Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Gun control efforts around the country were reignited by the shootings at the Connecticut elementary school, which left 20 children and six adults dead.

In Oregon, a 14-year-old student was killed at a high school last June, when a gunman walked into a gym and opened fire. The killer then committed suicide.

The Brady Campaign said 35 percent of U.S. citizens now lived in areas covered by the expanded background checks.

(Reporting by Curtis Skinner in San Francisco; Editing by Crispian Balmer)