Medford, Ore. — Increasing the age to buy guns and tightening restrictions on sales, safety, and ammunition – all suggestions one state leader is asking the legislature to consider.
The head of the Bureau of Labor and Industries sent a letter to legislators last week asking for change.
BOLI plans to submit a bill next year, which could give Oregon some of the tightest gun restrictions in the nation.
NBC5 News spoke with a representative from BOLI Monday.
Under both state and federal law, anyone 18 and older can purchase a rifle or shotgun in the state of Oregon. However, in order to buy a handgun – you have to be 21.
While several big-box retailers announced they will no longer be selling any guns to anyone under 21. In Oregon, that decision could be challenged in a civil court complaint. To combat it, BOLI has crafted a bill to enact an exemption, giving retailers the choice – 21 or 18.
“It allows them the flexibility to make common sense gun safety measures – as matter of retailer, store policy – without running the risk of various types of civil rights complaints,” said Charlie Burr, Bureau of Labor and Industries.
Last week, Brad Avakian, Oregon’s labor commissioner, sent a letter to the state’s legislature outlying specific public accommodations issues, focusing on gun sales.
“Remove age discrimination protections around public laws accommodations relating to gun sales,” Burr said.
To put into simpler terms – BOLI is suggesting legislators make a change in the law to give Oregon retailers the flexibility to limit sales based on age, mainly to young people, however they see fit.
“Under existing laws, there are state exemptions for alcohol and tobacco,” Burr said.
But not gun sales.
BOLI said it won’t comment on any specific cases right now, but it said it does want to raise some eyebrows on the issue.
“If legislators were to give retailers the flexibility to enact basic public safety limits on how they sell their guns, they can address the civil rights laws,” Burr said.
At the end of his letter, the labor commissioner for BOLI also called for stricter gun control laws – including licensing requirements for all gun owners, registration for all firearms, requirements for safe storage, and a ban on all assault-style weapons and high-capacity magazines.
The bill will be submitted to the legislature for the 2019 session.
NBC5 News will be following this story and updating you with details as they become available.