At an informal hearing before the Senate’s Judiciary Committee Wednesday morning, Bend lawyer and former Sen. Neil Bryant, who served on the committee for eight years, requested the legislature form a working group to attempt to resolve the legal issues surrounding the bans.
The main case in question was filed by the Oregon Firearms Educational Foundation and petitions the court to determine the validity of the Oregon University System’s handgun ban, which affects those licensed to carry concealed handguns.
“It’s a basic question of whether or not educational institutions have the authority to regulate weapons on their campus,” Bryant said.
However, Bryant said oral arguments in the case will to be heard until early spring of 2010. In the meantime, he urged the Senate to “be proactive.”
During the question and answer portion of the hearing, Bryant repeated the OUS’ position that handguns are fundamentally unsafe in a campus environment.
“Let’s say you’ve got a concealed handgun,” Bryant said. “It’s there legally. You’ve got a permit. Your friends and you had a few beers and someone says, ‘Hey, you know, I’d like to see your .357 Magnum or whatever.’ And you take it out. You start handling it or using it. Hopefully it’s not loaded. Or you’ve broken up with your girlfriend, and you’re under extreme stress because of that, or maybe you’re really unhappy with the professor in a class. You know, just why have the availability of a handgun on campus?”
DPS Director Doug Tripp and other campus safety officers from around the state were on hand to answer questions, but no questions were directed at them.
Rep. Kim Thatcher, an outspoken supporter of allowing licensed concealed handguns on campus, tried to speak at one point, her policy director, Dawn Phillips, said. Phillips said committee chair Floyd Prozanski did not allow Thatcher to speak. Read more
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