Bill would require background checks for gun sales by private parties

      EUGENE, Ore. - Background checks are mandatory for people buying firearms at stores and gun shows.

      But the law doesn't apply to private party transactions.

      Oregon state Senator Floyd Prozanski wants to change that law.

      "What we want to do is close the loophole and ensure felons do not have easy access to guns," Prozanski, D-Eugene, said.

      In two years, Oregon has denied gun sales to more than 4,000 people based on criminal background checks.

      The concern is that some of those people denied guns at a store or gun show will instead buy weapons from private sellers.

      Critics predict the bill could lead to gun registration and confiscation.

      Prozanski said those fears are unfounded.

      "There's been no confiscation of guns from law abiding citizens," he said. "The only guns that have ever been taken away from individuals is through a court of law where they've been convicted of crimes where they can no longer have access to guns."

      Kevin Starrett of the Oregon Firearms Federation opposes the measure.

      He said criminals will continue finding ways around regulations while the rights of law-abiding citizens will be jeopardized.

      "If we've learned nothing else from Cover Oregon, we should've learned the government doesn't have a solution to every problem," Starrett said. "A felon is not affected by this law. If he's denied, he walks away. Nothing happens to him."

      Prozanski believes he has the support to move his bill forward. He expects it to be debated during the February legislative session.