Oregon Background Checks for Transfer of Firearms, Measure 5 (2000)

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Oregon Ballot Measure 5 (2000) is an initiated state statute that expands state law by requiring that a person other than a gun dealer who transfers a firearm at a gun show request a criminal background check. The law in 2000 required only gun dealers to request such background checks. The measure specifies information that a person other than a gun dealer must provide to the State Police when requesting a criminal background check and establishes deadlines for the State Police to respond. The State Police may charge a fee, as provided under existing Oregon law, for the additional background checks authorized by this measure.

Election results

Approveda This measure passed at the November 2000 General Election.

Measure 5
Approveda Yes 921,926 61.8%

The measure grants immunity from civil liability to a person who requests a background check and receives approval before transferring a firearm, unless the person knows or should know that the person to whom the firearm is being transferred is likely to commit an unlawful act involving the firearm. The immunity does not apply if the person knows that the recipient of the firearm intends to deliver the firearm to a third person who is prohibited from possessing a firearm. The measure does not grant immunity in a product liability action.[1]

Ballot title

Expands Circumstances Requiring Background Check Before Transfer Of Firearm[2]


Ginny Burdick, Robert Kennedy, and Dan Noelle


[3] The Million Mom March supported the measure calling it a "simple, common-sense measure that will protect our children and our communities from gun trauma by requiring buyers at gun shows to pass the same background check they would have to pass in a gun store".

Many supporters argued that the measure does not threaten the rights of law-abiding gun owners, wanting to make it clear that the measure "isn't gun control."They maintained that the measure is a common sense to way to keep guns out of criminals' hands.

Some others who supported the measure are:

  • Sheriffs of Oregon
  • Oregon Catholic Conference
  • Nurses United
  • Oregon Medical Association


[4] The Oregon Firearms Federation Political Action Committee called the measure an attack on privacy and shared information with voters about the background check system the measure would require unlicensed sellers to use:

"[The National Instant Check System] has been down for days at a time. Read what the State Police have to say about how that affects their system, the Handgun Instant Check System:
'The whole purpose of this system is not to arrest people',said Tom Dixson who supervises the Oregon State Police instant check system.
'Even when local authorities are notified that a felon is

attempting to buy a gun, it's usually not a high

priority for them to react right away.' --Statesman Journal 5/30/99
'Few felons arrested under gun check law.' --Eugene Register Guard 5/31/99
'I don't see anything in this act that is going to prevent gun violence.' --Lane County Sheriff Jan Clements, August 4th 2000
Measure 5 is not about stopping crimes. It's not about stopping violence. It's about stopping you. It's about preventing you from protecting your family."

Many opposed believed the measure would do nothing to stop crimes or prevent criminals from attaining guns, but would more likely hinder law-abiding citizens from owning guns and protecting their families. Many simply considered the measure a violation of privacy and safety. Some pointed out that the majority of dealers at gun shows are already licensed.

Some others opposed were:

  • The Libertarian Party of Oregon
  • Oregon Republican Party
  • National Rifle Association of America
  • Second Amendment Sisters, Inc.

See also

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