A day after the latest school shooting in Florida, the Oregon House voted to close a loophole in a state law designed to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers. While the Oregon law does not directly relate to the Florida case, it is a small step toward saner gun laws. The mystery is how the 23 Republicans who voted no on Thursday can justify their votes.
House Bill 4145, which now awaits action in the Senate, would expand the number of people barred from possessing guns because of their involvement in domestic violence situations. Under existing law, it is illegal for a person to knowingly possess a firearm or ammunition who has been convicted of a violent crime against an intimate partner or is the subject of a stalking order obtained by an intimate partner.
Thanks to the "boyfriend loophole," however, a convicted abuser can still possess guns if they were not married to, living with or the parent of a child with their victim. Stalking is also not covered under existing law.
The only House Republican to explain his vote on the floor was Rep. Andy Olson, R-Albany, who said domestic violence is also committed with "baseball bats, knives and rocks." Never mind the fact that the presence of a gun in a domestic violence situation makes it five times more likely that a woman will be killed.
If it makes sense to bar any domestic abusers from legally possessing guns, it should apply to all of them.