OR Sheriff Publicly Opposes Proposed Universal Background Check Law


Sheriff Bruce Riley of Linn County, Oregon has come out publicly on the Linn County Sheriff’s Facebook page boldly stating that universal background checks, as proposed in Senate Bill 941, are not what they appear to be on the surface.  Riley wrote a letter and posted it on the Facebook page earlier this week . . .

 “While this bill may look good on the surface, don’t be fooled,” Riley’s letter notes. “It does nothing to make our families, communities, schools or businesses safer. Adding additional requirements and unnecessary laws for law abiding citizens is a waste of time and resources — time and resources that could be better spent on stiffening our current laws that deal with crimes committed with guns and mental health issues that currently face our community every day.” Riley added, “As your sheriff, I am committed to keeping guns away from criminals. I am equally committed in allowing law abiding citizens the right to possess firearms without further infringement.”

Senate Bill 941 would require a background check on all firearms transfers, including private party sales. Transfers between family members, law enforcement, or the passing down of inheritable firearms are exempted from this measure.

The specific text of the bill in the introduction summary states that the bill,

Requires private person to complete transfer of firearm by appearing with transferee before gun dealer to request criminal background check. Punishes violation by maximum of one year’s imprisonment, $6,250 fine, or both, or maximum of 10 years’ imprisonment, $250,000 fine, or both, for second or subsequent offense

Riley calls the bill “window dressing” saying it is nothing more than feel-good legislation designed to make it more difficult for good citizens to own guns. If passed, Riley also states that the bill will add a significant layer of government bureaucracy and fees that infringe on law abiding gun owners and their right to keep and bear arms.

Riley would rather see the legislature focus on mental health services in the state instead of concocting laws that would do nothing to accomplish the state’s goal of keeping guns from the hands of criminals.

It’s nice that there are public servants like Riley and other law enforcement officers like him who understand the true intent of the Second Amendment.


  1. avatar Chris says:


    1. avatar Jack says:

      what does that stand for?

      1. avatar MoveableDo says:

        I don’t know. My guess is Gun Hero of the Day…

      2. avatar Enuz says:

        Gun Hero of the Day.

        1. avatar Geoff PR says:

          That makes more sense than Google’s “Go Home On Time Day”.

          I kid you not.


    2. avatar AdamTA1 says:

      Late to the party but had to add. This was my first thought as well.

  2. avatar John says:

    I’m sorry.

    He’s just too close to the real-world problem and understands the actual situation too clearly for the legislators to pay any attention to him at all.

    Nobody supporting the good sheriff’s position will ever get any of that Bloomberg money.

  3. avatar fishydude says:

    More insanity. 10 years in prison for letting a friend shoot your pistol at a gun range and hand it back to you.
    Merely handing it so they can look at it is not a ‘transfer’ under federal law. But once that person fires a single round, it is an illegal transfer. At least that is how the WA law defines it now.
    And of course, it is just another law that criminals will ignore.

    1. avatar Wiregrass says:

      And hopefully so will most of the citizens.

      1. avatar LarryinTX says:

        And ALL of LE!

    2. avatar MeRp says:

      In Washington it is just another law that otherwise non-criminals will ignore as well… and, at least sometimes the police will ignore. It is exactly the kind of selectively enforceable law that the stereotypical statists love; it can be ignored (hell, even encouraged to be ignored) right up until they want to lay the smack down on someone, then they can pull it out of their back pocket, with the only (losing) defense being “well, no one follows that law.” Combined with severe penalties, that makes it a hell of a tool in the state control toolbox.

    3. avatar Bob says:

      I went to the gun range awhile ago with my nephews, niece, and sister-in-law. We handed guns back and forth, and fired them several times. If we had been in WA at the time, we all would have to spend the rest of our lives in prison.
      How the people of WA can think that their UBC law is a good law is just beyond belief!

      1. avatar Dan A says:

        Most people who voted for the law didn’t actually know what it entailed. Background checks on private transfers sounds all well and good to many, but how the bill defines “transfer” wasn’t common knowledge for them.

        1. avatar Dry Sider says:

          In addition to not know what the law actually says, the HUGE Seattle/Peugotopolis voting block are likely a bunch of non-gun owners. Google the voting distribution color maps. Most square miles of WA didn’t vote for 594. The giant urban area did. The same place that a local, well known and loved street artist (Tuba Man) was beaten to death by “teens” because he wouldn’t give them $5.

          The same areas voted overwhelmingly to allow illegals to get drivers licenses.

    4. avatar Gruney says:

      Don’t confuse Federal law with I594, the UBC bill from Hell. I’m pretty sure that holding a firearm constitutes a transfer under this law. Gazing at a firearm too long may also be a transfer.

      Don’t worry that the uber rich 0.1% backed this PoS – they just want to make you safe. Or not.

  4. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

    The sheriff’s of Polk and Yamhill counties have taken similar public stances.
    The highly populated Washington county Sheriff? Not so much

    1. avatar brentondadams says:

      Grant County too.

    2. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      So that is, what, three or four Sheriff’s offices who oppose the bill … out of how many Sheriff’s offices and how many city and state police agencies/officers?

    3. avatar MeRp says:

      Really? The Yamhill county sheriff took a similar stance? That is a bit of a surprise to me; when I was looking at trying to get my non-resident CHL in Yamhill county (since that is where all of my extended family lives), I got the impression that that sheriff’s office was not overly gun friendly. In the end I settled on doing it in the most adjacent county, since they are a bit more gun friendly AND since it is right there I can rightly say I’m in the county quite a bit. I considered making the trip down to Grant county, because it essentially says right on their info sight that they’ll accept “it is my constitutional right” as a good reason for wanting a CHL.

    4. avatar Geoff PR says:

      Are sheriffs elected or appointed in Polk and Yamhill counties?

  5. avatar TheOtherDavid says:

    Almost every sheriff in Washington State opposed 594 along with the state’s largest LEO organization but money from Bloomberg, Bill and Melinda Gates, Steve Ballmef etc bought the election with saturation print and TV advertising.

    Here’s hoping Oregon voters can resist the coming onslaught

    1. avatar Gruney says:

      Which proves that if you throw enough TV advertising at the average voter, no matter how full of lies and distortions it is, they will believe it.

      PugetSound-istan has their own unique version of whack. About half your vehicle registration fee goes to mass transit, plus 1% of sales tax in most places. I have a car, WTF do I need mass transit for? I don’t want to go to any of the places it goes anyway.

      $15/hr minimum wage – great idea! What could possibly go wrong? Oh, maybe the people that have skilled jobs will want to make at least that much too? That couldn’t possibly affect the cost of everything. The stupid, it burns…….

  6. avatar Roscoe says:

    Bill Gore could use some of Riley’s wisdom, and logic.

  7. avatar Curtis in IL says:

    “It’s nice that there are public servants like Riley…”

    Yes, Sara. It’s nice that there are elected public servants, a.k.a. POLITICIANS like Sheriff Riley. Even though Mr. Farago and several TTAG commenters would tell you there isn’t a single decent politician on the planet.

    1. avatar Stinkeye says:

      He’s just not far enough up the food chain to have been corrupted yet. Guys like him are either too decent and honorable to advance very much beyond local politics, or they’re forced to sell their souls to play at the higher levels.

      Some politicians at the local level manage to stay decent human beings. Generally, that’s because they’re in close contact with their constituency, and it keeps them honest. There might be a handful of non-shitheads at the state level, but finding a principled, honest person holding a federal office is almost unheard of.

      It’s not that only dishonest people enter politics. It’s that the system is specifically designed and rigged to corrupt those who participate.

    2. avatar Sara T. says:

      Actually, I dislike polticians as well, so lump me in with Mr. Farago. But when one comes out on our side, we can give him credit. Sometimes we need to show that we are not alone. Don’t you think? 😉

  8. avatar MoveableDo says:

    I live in Oregon and regularly buy and sell guns face-to-face with fellow law-abiding citizens of my state. I look at the ORDL and often their CHL, too. These are legit folks who all participate in a local classifieds forum. The only thing this law does is cause every single used firearm to lose at least $50 in value overnight AND cost another $50 for every single transfer. This bill, instead of reducing crime, merely serves to decimate a specific economy in the state. Plus, where are all of these FFL’s doing transfers going to come from? Busy gun stores don’t want a bunch of unprofitable face-to-facers filling up their store and taking their employees’ time!

    1. avatar Geoff PR says:

      “Busy gun stores don’t want a bunch of unprofitable face-to-facers filling up their store and taking their employees’ time!”

      As far as the anti-gun Left is concerned, that’s a huge feature, not a bug.

  9. avatar Jordan S. says:

    He’s pretty lenient on NFA items as well. Kinda wish I lived on the other side of the county line.

  10. avatar Mark N. says:

    The way this law reads, since it requires the transferee to appear at the FFL with the transferor, would appear to outlaw internet sales conducted through an FFL, yes?

    1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      It sounds like it would prohibit any sale or transfer from out of state unless the seller/transferer appeared at the local FFL.

    2. avatar Geoff PR says:

      “The way this law reads, since it requires the transferee to appear at the FFL with the transferor, would appear to outlaw internet sales conducted through an FFL, yes?”

      That looks like infringing on inter-state trade.

      Is that a constitutional angle to sue them on?

    3. avatar Roymond says:

      That’s an interesting question. I know that for some services, Skype counts as face-to-face. So what I see here is an opportunity for a lot of lawyers to rake in some serious bucks arguing the point.

      I am more and more convinced that allowing lawyers to write laws is a a very bad idea, as I am more and more convinced that they deliberately word them so as to provide wide opportunities for litigation.

  11. avatar SteveX says:

    Did anyone else think ‘Dennis Weaver’ when you saw the Sheriff’s picture?

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