The day after a gunman killed 17 in a Florida high school, an emotional Oregon House of Representatives voted 37-23 to pass House Bill 4145, the so-called "boyfriend loophole" bill.
Current law allows police to take guns away from offenders convicted of domestic violence against their spouses. The bill would expand that power to allow police to take guns away from intimate partners (i.e. those not married to their victims) who have been convicted of domestic violence or are the subject of a stalking order. Similar laws have passed in 25 other states, according to gun control advocates.
Today, three Republicans—state Reps. Rich Vial (R-Hillsboro), Julie Parrish (R-West Linn) and Knute Buehler (R-Bend)—withstood massive pressure from the National Rifle Association and other gun rights groups to vote "yes."
Holding back tears as he referred to the Florida shooting, Vial, who said he is a gun owner, referred to that pressure as he explained his vote.
"All week long as I've anticipated this moment, have been inclined to crawl under my desk in the fetal position," Vial said. Like others who spoke, Vial made reference to yesterday's school shooting.
"My heart is broken by the events yesterday in Broward County [Fla.]," he continued.
State Rep. Andy Olson (R-Albany) who voted for the bill in the House Judiciary Committee, said today that he'd decided the bill would not make enough of a difference and voted "no."
But Buehler, who is seeking the GOP nomination for governor, became the second GOP vote for the bill, which will increase its chances of passing the Senate.
"Survivors of domestic violence should not have to live in fear that their abusers will possess a firearm," Buehler said in a statement. "They deserve to be heard and protected. This legislation makes a small change to existing policy, which was established in 2015 with bipartisan support. It will enhance efforts to keep women and children safe."
The bill now moves to the Senate.
Robin Maxey, spokesman for Senate President Peter Courtney (D-Salem), who decides what legislation comes to the floor for a vote, says his boss welcomes the bill.
"After 4145 passed today, Peter was asked if [it] gets out of committee will he allow a floor vote and does he support it?" Maxey said in an email. "He said 'yes and yes.'"