Like many Oregonians I am concerned about gun crime and, what can feel like, a new mass shooting occurring every week. My initial thought about introducing a gun permit is an immediate “yes, please!” It seems like common sense to me that gun owners should prove they have the necessary skill and knowledge to use one, similar to the the way many of us do in order to legally drive a ton of metal around. Unfortunately, that’s not what we’re getting.
Out of the many flaws with this measure, the most significant one to me is that this measure ensures that the most vulnerable populations in this state will have their gun access limited. Gun nuts, particularly right-wingers that pose an existential threat to minorities, get to keep their arsenals and even ignore getting a permit because it’s a “purchase permit” and not an “usage permit.” It’s also another transfer of power to the State Police, and that shouldn’t sit right with anyone these days; they should have been left out of the process completely!
Here are my problems with this measure…
- The power to deny a permit application is given to the State Police, rather than establishing a new government agency akin to the Oregon Department of Transportation. The last thing we should be doing is expanding the responsibilities of the police; we already rely on them for too much the way it is. We all kinda collectively agreed this is an issue less than 2 years ago! This is another lazy “push stuff onto the police and let them sort it out” approach to a complex subject that can only lead to more problems down the road.
- The criteria for rejection is vague and has been abused by police before. The criteria for denial, “a danger to self or others,” is vague nonsense that has already been abused by authorities to unjustly lock away critics or kill innocent citizens. A politically influential (and violent) portion of this country is also in the midst of a nationwide crusade to paint transsexuals and homosexuals as mentally-ill and dangerous to children, so accepting this criteria seems like a guaranteed way to keep guns out of the hands of those who might need them most.
- Fingerprints are required for the permit. This is an absurd infringement on personal information that will go into a database with no guarantees it won’t be submitted to some other nationwide fingerprint registry. As if the FBI is going to agree to not hold onto all the prints they’re sent (how do we enforce this part of the measure??). Never forget, all information given to police can and will be used against you, including fingerprints; you shouldn’t volunteer information unless you have to. Lastly, fingerprinting is pseudo-science and has been used in false accusations, leading to Oregonian Brandon Mayfield being “disappeared” for an entire month by the FBI in 2004.
- It expands police power within the state. This related to point 1 and 2, but needs to be emphasized. This is a problem because the Police already have cart blanche to ruin people’s lives with little oversight to begin with. We need to be figuring out a solution to the dangers posed by the police force before we come up with more ways to give them power; until cops stop being bastards, all attempts to give them more power to have to be reconsidered!
- Individuals in police and military are exempt! This part could have been worded in such a way that allows for job-required ammunition of any size but instead a broad exemption is used instead. This should be obviously bad; the enforcers of our laws don’t even have to play by the same rules here.
- Poor folks basically won’t be able to get guns at all. Guns are already extremely expensive. All that required training is great but, unless it is free (and it won’t be), we’re guaranteeing that many of the folks who need guns the most won’t be able to get any because they can’t pay for it.
I can’t imagine how any progressive coalitions support this thing, when it’ll be minorities and other vulnerable people who get penalized by this proposal more than anyone else. Progress at the expense of the most vulnerable among us isn’t progress at all; this is an increase in persecution dressed up as “baby steps” towards better things down the road.