Oregon Senate Holds First Hearing On “Boyfriend Loophole” Gun Control Bill, With a Vote Expected Wednesday

The closely-watched gun control measure is a priority for Gov. Kate Brown.

Shooting range (Peretz Partensky /Flickr)

The Oregon Senate Judiciary Committee this morning held an initial public hearing and work session on House Bill 4145, the so-called "boyfriend loophole" bill.

The measure passed the House last week by a 37-to-23 margin, with three Republicans voting yes. The bill is designed to address a shortcoming in current law: Police can take guns away from a spouse convicted of domestic violence or who is subject to a stalking order, but they cannot take guns away from an unmarried intimate partner who has committed the same behavior—hence the term "boyfriend loophole."

Related: One Day After Florida School Shooter Kills 17, Oregon House Passes Gun Control Bill

Gun control advocates say 25 states, including red states such as Utah and Louisiana, have passed similar legislation in recent years.

For a flavor of the opposition the bill, it's useful to read the written testimony submitted to the committee for consideration.

"This bill will take us one step closer to the Dark Ages, when you had to bribe a guard to even get a chance to defend your rights," wrote Mathew Whitaker in a typical submission. "Any lawmaker that supports this bill is supporting an end to our democracy."

The committee, which comprises four Democrats and three Republicans, meets daily and could vote on the bill as soon as Wednesday. Should it pass out of committee, which seems likely it this point, it would then go to the Senate floor for a vote. Democrats outnumber Republicans 17-13.

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