By: José Niño
On July 13, 2023, Oregon Governor Tina Kotek signed House Bill 2005, which prohibits homemade firearms in Oregon.
With the signing of this bill, the manufacturing, possession, and sale of all unserialized firearms or unfinished frames and receivers are banned. On top of that, the manufacturing, possession, and sale of “undetectable firearms,” which are classified as 3D-printed guns made up “entirely of nonmetal substances” are also banned.
Proponents of the bill were ecstatic about its passage. “After years of work, my colleagues and I took action on ghost guns with House Bill 2005,” Oregon State Senator James Manning, the bill’s main sponsor, stated. “Ghost guns are unserialized and undetectable, making them the gun of choice for gun traffickers, violent criminals, and people legally prohibited from buying firearms.”
The bill’s detractors had choice words for the passage of this bill. The Oregon Firearms Federation (OFF) described the bill as “clownish” and “inane.”
“We have received a number of inquiries about what this bill actually does,” the group declared in a statement to its supporters. “But the bill is so poorly drafted that we can’t really answer that question with any certainty.”
OFF has historically filed multiple lawsuits against the state government’s gun control laws. It recently informed its members that it would not be taking legal action against HB 2005. By contrast, it revealed that Oregon House Republicans have promised to file a lawsuit against the homemade firearm ban.
Republicans in the Oregon state legislature put up a respectable degree of resistance to this gun control proposal. However, due to the Democrats’ advantage in the State House (35-25) and State Senate (17-12) respectively, the bill was inevitably passed. That said, Republicans were able to extract several concessions from the Democratic majority, which originally tacked on more gun control proposals to HB 2005.
Originally, the bill would have set up new exceptions to Oregon’s firearms preemption law that would grant cities and counties the power to carve out their own gun-free zones. Furthermore, the bill would have also increased the minimum age that an individual can buy any firearm in the state from 18 to 21.
Those provisions ended up being deleted from the bill in an effort by Democrats to bring Senate Republicans back to the chamber to continue their legislative work. Republicans previously carried out a multi-week walkout to protest the bill. Such a move would have impeded the creation of a legislative quorum, thereby guaranteeing the death of this gun control bill.
In signing this bill into law, Jake Fogleman of The Reload noted that Oregon became the 13th state to ban or substantially restrict unserialized homemade firearms and the second state to implement such a ban in 2023 after Colorado.
Oregon is ranked in 36th place according to Guns & Ammo magazine’s “Best States for Gun Owners” rankings, so it’s next to impossible for pro-gun legislation to be passed. As a result, gun owners will have to use litigation to keep the gun controllers at bay. Sadly, that’s how gun rights will be preserved in blue states where it’s incredibly difficult for legislative reform to be passed.