Senate Approves 'Extreme Risk' Gun Bill

The Register Guard (Eugene, OR), May 2, 2017 | Go to article overview

Senate Approves 'Extreme Risk' Gun Bill


Byline: Saul Hubbard The Register-Guard

SALEM - The Oregon Senate on Monday approved a bill allowing guns to be taken away from people deemed at risk of suicide or harming others.

The so-called "extreme risk protection order" legislation passed on a 17-11 vote after a muted and at times emotional debate on the Senate floor. It now heads to the House.

In a highly unusual occurrence for a gun control bill, the policy's main advocate in the floor debate was a Republican, Sen. Brian Boquist, an Army veteran whose stepson killed himself last year.

He joined majority Democrats in voting for Senate Bill 719. Sen. Betsy Johnson, a Scappoose Democrat, voted "no," along with all other present Republicans.

Boquist said the bill would help save lives, before reading off recent statistics on military veterans' suicides in several Ore gon counties.

"This Legislature has struggled, and struggled, and struggled with what we should do about this," he said.

Boquist - endorsed by the National Rifle Association - also lashed out at opponents of the bill who have pilloried him for championing SB 719.

Outside groups, many organized by gun shop owners afraid of "losing money," Boquist said, have spread "bald-face lies" about what the legislation would do.

"This isn't some broad, sweeping (gun) confiscation" policy, as they've portrayed it, Boquist said.

Over 70 percent of Washington state voters approved a more aggressive protection order policy last year, Boquist added.

SB 719 would allow someone to seek an "extreme risk protection order" in court for an immediate family member who they believe is a suicide risk or a threat to others. …

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