Garrett Andrews

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October 4, 2013
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Federal shutdown doesn't slow firearms background checks

Although the federal shutdown has closed campgrounds and websites, databases used to perform background checks for firearms purchases have been unaffected, and business during the first week of hunting season is good, several Douglas County gun sellers said today.

Jim Ellison, co-owner of Flying Cloud Trading Company on Fullerton Street in Roseburg, said the furlough of federal workers hasn’t affected sales at his store, though some people were worried in the lead-up to the shutdown, which began Tuesday.

“I’ve had a couple people ask about it, but I think the whole thing’s been pretty well publicized,” he said.

The only type of sale affected is the purchase of silencers, which requires a federal tax stamp. Applications for silencers already take about six months to process. Ellison said he doesn’t sell many silencers, so the impact on his store has been nil.

In the build-up to the shutdown, media outlets reported citizens might have trouble acquiring guns. In an article titled, “10 ways a government shutdown would affect your daily life,” CNN reported on Tuesday that the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms wouldn’t process firearms permits “anytime soon if the shutdown continues for long.”

Oregon State Police is the agency that runs background checks required for firearms purchases in Oregon. OSP Lt. Gregg Hastings said today the state’s Firearms Instant Check System, which uses federal databases, is operating as usual. The state’s background check system is available for firearms dealers and private parties from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day except Christmas and Thanksgiving, for a fee of $10 per transaction.

“We’ve had no significant impact on running background checks,” Hastings said.

Sales are good at Associated Buyers on Northeast Stephens Street, said owner Dave Maley, but that has more to do with bucks and bulls than any worries about the shutdown’s long-term affects.

“It’s hunting season, so guns are moving pretty quick,” he said.

Earl Skonberg, president of the Roseburg Rod & Gun Club, said the club and its 15-member board will take stances on hot topics related to firearms, but hasn’t taken a stance on the shutdown.

Skonberg said he hasn’t heard concerns from any of the club’s more than 600 members.

“It hasn’t affected us in any way, shape or form,” he said.

• You can reach reporter Garrett Andrews at 541-957-4218 or by email at

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The News-Review Updated Oct 4, 2013 03:46PM Published Oct 7, 2013 09:04AM Copyright 2013 The News-Review. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.