170212-nrr-gunshow-02 (copy)

Bob Swearingen of Cottage Grove works at his booth at the Roseburg Rod and Gun Club Gun and Knife Show at the Douglas County Fairgrounds in 2017.

This year, Oregon legislators will consider banning adults younger than 21 from buying guns. They’ll also decide whether to mandate that guns be kept under lock and key.

The most extensive of a handful of gun control proposals this session is Senate Bill 501, a catchall bill that includes both the above provisions along with a number of others. It also sets limits on how many guns and how much ammunition can be purchased.

John Hanlin


In an interview with The News-Review on Thursday, Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin explained why he thinks SB 501 is so extreme it’s unlikely to become law and would probably be found unconstitutional if it did. But he also said he’d leave it to the courts to decide, rather than using the county’s new Second Amendment Preservation Ordinance to refuse enforcement of its provisions.

“Generally speaking, I’m opposed to the entire Senate bill. I think the whole thing in its entirety is irresponsible and overreaching,” Hanlin said.

SB 501 was proposed by Lake Oswego students affiliated with Students for Change, a national student movement formed in response to the February 2018 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida. Proponents of gun control argue it could reduce the number of such shootings, along with accidental shootings and teen suicides. Opponents say they are an infringement of Second Amendment rights.

Hanlin said SB 501’s provision barring 18- to 20-year-olds from obtaining guns doesn’t make sense.

“Men and women in this country can go to war and lay down their lives defending our freedom in the military at age 18. I don’t know why they can’t possess a gun in their private lives at the age of 18,” he said.

He also believes the mandate that guns have a trigger lock or be kept in a locked container defeats the purpose of owning a gun for self-defense.

“In a situation where you need one for home defense, you’re probably not going to have time to remove a lock or get it out of a typical safe in order to protect yourself or your family,” he said.

He said the ammunition limits listed in SB 501 are also unreasonable, especially a section mandating gun magazines hold no more than five rounds. There are hardly any guns made today with magazines holding such a small number of rounds, he said.

SB 501 also limits what an individual can purchase within 30 days. The limits are 20 rounds of ammunition, one rifle or shotgun, and one handgun within that time period. Hanlin said he doesn’t see why the government should have the right to restrict those purchases.

On the other hand, SB 501’s permit restrictions based on past behavior, such as prior convictions and restraining order violations are more valid in Hanlin’s view. These are similar to some existing rules, he said. Felons and some domestic abusers are already banned from purchasing guns.

SB 501 also adds a requirement that a gun safety course be completed before a permit to purchase a gun can be issued. Hanlin said while it makes sense to require a safety course for a concealed handgun permit, it’s not reasonable to extend the requirement to people who just want a gun for home protection.

“I think that’s stepping dangerously close to violating our Second Amendment rights,” he said.

Despite his concerns about most of SB 501’s provisions, Hanlin said he doesn’t see himself using the Second Amendment Preservation Ordinance to refuse enforcement if the legislature were to pass the bill. He said the ordinance was really intended as more of a “formal statement” by county residents about Second Amendment rights.

“Those sort of questions are going to have to be answered by the courts and by the high court, as far as the constitutionality of any law that passed that we feel infringes upon our Second Amendment rights,” he said.

If the bill passes and the courts don’t overturn it, Hanlin said he’d expect things to get pretty heated here in Douglas County and in other rural parts of the state.

“It’s going to result in a revolt. There’s going to be a lot of civil unrest if people can no longer buy ammunition or only limit the purchase to one gun every so many days,” he said.

More modest proposals before the legislature include fewer restrictions. Senate Bill 87 just includes the age 21 limit, while Senate Bill 275 centers on keeping guns locked up and reporting when they’re stolen.

Reporter Carisa Cegavske can be reached at 541-957-4213 or ccegavske@nrtoday.com.

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Senior Reporter

Carisa Cegavske is the senior reporter for The News-Review. She can be reached at ccegavske@nrtoday.com or 541-957-4213. Follow her on Twitter @carisa_cegavske

(13) comments


All the proposed bills have one thing in common. Impose regulations on law abiding citizens. Not a single life will be saved as criminals don't care about our laws.


Agreed! Prohibition is a prime example. Did it stop ONE person from making alcohol, or getting drunk? Another Democratic blunder that cost the public millions, escalated crime, and put thousands of people out of work. Gun control is NO DIFFERENT! It won't solve ANY gun violence problems.


Congress is considering a hearing on two new "Gun Control" bills a portion of which would make it a CRIME to hand your FA to another person. Huh? How will that impact gun violence? It's just another attempt to disarm the public for their own evil agenda. RESIST! RESIST! RESIST!


There are two gun safety tips that will stop any gun accident.
1. The muzzle, (the pointy end of the gun) is always pointed in a safe direction
2. You never put your finger on the trigger until ready to fire the gun.
Gun safety doesn't need to be a class, just these two rules and a familiarization with whatever "gun" you're shooting.

Old Tobi

I think that if one's old enough to join the military and vote, one's old enough to buy a gun or work as an exotic dancer. But 21's been proposed as the proper age for dancing naked in clubs by these same men, because 99 & 9/10ths of that dancing is done by females. Who should be trusted with guns but can't be trusted with decisions about what they do with their own bodies?

Willie Stroker

100% there will be a revolution. The only difference between 1776 and now is that we have more guns! One side owns 390+ million guns and trillions of rounds of ammo. The other side doesn't know which bathroom to use...


The other side which doesn't know which bathroom to use won't be the people that will be coming after our guns nor the ones that will be armed.




"SB 501 also adds a requirement that a gun safety course be completed before a permit to purchase a gun can be issued. Hanlin said while it makes sense to require a safety course for a concealed handgun permit, it's not reasonable to extend the requirement to people who just want a gun for home protection".

Really? You don't see the need for a gun safety course for those who just want a gun for home protection? What possible reason would one have for not endorsing gun safety?

Willie Stroker

If someone breaks into my house I wont be using gun safety techniques because there is a 99% chance you will be shot. It'd be different if it was a self defense class not gun safety. The point of self defense is being able to shoot them to save a life not to make sure you don't. I don't need to take a class for gun safety if I'm using for self defense. A 12 gauge shotgun isn't going to miss so there isn't a lot of training that goes into using one.


Hanlin says, "Men and women in this country can go to war and lay down their lives defending our freedom in the military at age 18. I don't know why they can't possess a gun in their private lives at the age of 18," but he fails to mention that the gun used in the military is not owned by the 18 year old, it is controlled by the military. The military trains that 18 year old how, when and where to use such a weapon. Surely Hanlin is smart enough to see the difference.

Willie Stroker

I can join the military and use a handgun even though it is illegal to purchase if under 21. But with a parents permission I can be given one or they can give me one. That doesn't make any sense. The military isn't a parent and therefore according to the law cant give someone a handgun without the parents consent.


Criminals don't OWN their guns, either!

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