Oregon lawmakers take aim at loophole in state gun law

So many people are buying guns in Oregon these days that the state police are often unable to complete background checks in time, allowing the sales to proceed if the deadline isn’t met. A handful of Democratic lawmakers have now put forward a bill in the Oregon Legislature that would close this loophole. It’s often called the Charleston loophole because Dylann Roof was able to buy a gun that way, and then murder nine Black people at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2015. “You have the power to prevent a similar act of violence here in Oregon,” Sharon Risher, whose mother and two cousins were killed in the church, said in virtual testimony Thursday before the Oregon House Judiciary Committee. In Oregon, it’s up to the state police to do a background check. And they are warning that they are overwhelmed. In 2019, the Oregon State Police completed 276,912 background checks, said Maj. Tom Worthy of the state troopers. In 2020, that total rose by 51% to 418,061. “We saw exponential growth that we’ve never seen before,” Worthy told a committee of the Oregon Legislature on Thursday. "I can tell you that the unit is not staffed for that volume, and it would be impossible for us to stay current based on our current employees that we have.” Nationwide, gun sales hit a historic high in January as violent riots hit the U.S. Capitol and a new president took over, continuing a record-setting […]

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