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Governor signs 'boyfriend loophole' gun bill

Gov. Kate Brown signed her priority legislation for the 2018 state policymaking session; law bans domestic abusers and stalkers from having guns.

PARIS ACHEN/CAPITAL BUREAU - Standing on the steps of the Oregon State Capitol in Salem, Monday, March 5, Gov. Kate Brown speaks to demonstrators in support of gun-control regulations. A few moments later, she signed a bill that bans domestic abusers and stalkers from having guns.SALEM — Surrounded by hundreds of students demonstrating for stricter gun laws, Gov. Kate Brown Monday, March 5, signed into a law a bill that bans convicted domestic abusers and stalkers from buying or owning guns.

House Bill 4145 also prohibits those who have a domestic violence restraining order against them from having firearms.

Proposed by the governor, the legislation was arguably the only signature law to emerge from the Legislature's 28-day policymaking session, which ended Saturday, March 3. The bill was approved in the House with bipartisan support and passed the Senate with bipartisan opposition.

Brown touted the legislation as the nation's first gun safety law since the shooting rampage at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, Feb. 14.

"I'm proud to sign this bill, making Oregon the first state to take action to prevent senseless gun violence since the tragedy in Parkland, Fla.," Brown said. "Today marks an important milestone, but we know we have more to do. It's long past time we hold the White House and Congress accountable. Now's the time to enact real change and federal gun safety legislation."PARIS ACHEN/CAPITAL BUREAU
PARIS ACHEN/CAPITAL BUREAU - About 200 demonstrators gathered in front of the Oregon State Capitol to pass more regulations to prevent gun violence. The event was in conjunction with Gov. Brown's signing of an Oregon bill to ban domestic abusers and stalkers from having guns.

The bill expands restrictions already in place on gun ownership and closes the so-called "boyfriend loophole" or "intimate partner loophole," as the governor later started referring to it. Domestic abusers who have been married, cohabitated or had children with their victims were already banned from having guns.

The bill signed into law Monday expands that ban to dating partners, with whom the victim may not have lived with nor had children with.

"This loophole needed desperately to be closed, and this bill closes it and protects victims of domestic violence equally," said Doreen Dodgen-Magee of Moms Demand Action.

About 54 percent of mass shootings — those in which four or more people are killed — between 2009 and 2016 were related to domestic abuse, she said, citing research by Everytown for Gun Safety.

"Today we are saving lives," she said.

About 300 students, gun safety advocates and survivors gathered around Brown as she signed the bill on the Capitol steps Monday afternoon. They also demonstrated in front of the statehouse to urge Congress to tighten up gun laws and protect students from gun violence.

Paris Achen
Portland Tribune Capital Bureau
email: pachen@portlandtribune.com
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