SB 554 : Schools, Portland airport, public buildings allowed to prohibit loaded, hidden guns

Position: Support Status: House Judiciary and Ballot Measure 110 Implementation

Congratulations! The Oregon Senate passed SB 554A. The bill now moves to the Oregon House for consideration.

The bill authorizes city, county, metropolitan service district, port operating commercial airport, school district, college or university to adopt ordinance or policy limiting or precluding affirmative defense for possession of firearms in public buildings by concealed handgun licensees. Modifies definition of "public building," for purposes of crime of possession of weapon in public building, to include certain airport areas, buildings owned or controlled by public bodies and real property owned by college or university.


March 30, 2021: First reading scheduled in the House.
March 25, 2021: Passed on the floor of the Oregon Senate. The bill will now move to the Oregon House for consideration.
Scheduled for third reading and possible vote on March 25.
Feb 25, 2021: SB 554 passed the Senate Judiciary Committee with a "do pass" recommendation with a -10 amendment.
Feb 25, 2021 Work session held
Feb 22, 2021: Hearing held
Jan 19, 2021: Referred to Senate Judiciary and Ballot Measure 110 Implementation
Jan 11, 2021: Introduced Chief Sponsors: Senator Burdick, Manning Jr, and Wagner, Representatives Prusak and Reynolds Regular Sponsors:Senator Dembrow, Frederick, Prozanski, Steiner Hayward, Taylor, Representative Dexter

Oregon bill SB 554A was passed out of the Oregon Senate on March 25, 2021. Oregon Democratic Senators Burdick, Prozanski, Manning, and Steiner Hayward courageously and brilliantly defended this bill against opposition by Republicans.

Democratic Senator Betsey Johnson voted against the bill.

Oregonians who have a permit to carry a concealed firearm (called a concealed handgun license or CHL) are allowed to carry loaded, hidden firearms into all public Oregon schools including grades K-12, community colleges, and on most areas of colleges within the Oregon University System. CHL holders are also allowed to carry loaded, hidden firearms into parts of airports and into the Oregon Capitol building.

Under SB 554-10, law enforcement officers (both current and retired) will still be permitted to carry a gun in the Capitol, which is likely to mean some legislators will carry their weapons. The bill is still a vast improvement in safety in the Oregon State Capitol Building.

In the aftermath of the December 2020 attack on the Oregon Capitol by armed domestic terrorists and the complicit nature of Rep. Mike Nearman (who opened the door for the domestic terrorists), as well as Senator Boquist’s threats to shoot Oregon State Police, banning all civilian possession of firearms in the Oregon State Capitol as well as public school, the Portland airport, and other public buildings is an action Oregon legislators must take to prevent future firearm injury or death at those locations.

At the Umpqua Community College shooting on October 1, 2015, an armed CHL holder was on campus but not able to stop–or prevent–the shooting deaths of nine people and left nine others injured.

The Oregon University System banned guns in the 1970s, but a 1989 concealed firearm law gave only the state’s Legislature permission to make laws on almost all aspects of firearm ownership including possession. The law was challenged in 2009 by a Western Oregon University student with a CHL who was suspended for bringing a concealed handgun on campus.

The Oregon Court of Appeals ruled in 2011 that the university system’s ban was beyond its authority and therefore invalid. Concealed carry permit holders could bring weapons on campus but could not openly display the gun.

Oregon State Senator Kim Thatcher (R) issued a Minority Report calling for “The Legislative Policy and Research Director shall conduct a survey of all scientific and evidence-based data, pertaining to the United States, regarding the effectiveness of gun-free zones as a credible and reliable deterrent against violent criminals with malicious intent to do harm.”

Most of the myth regarding “gun-free” zones stems from researcher John Lott who claimed that 98% or more of mass shootings from 1950 to the present occurred in gun-free zones. The following is from GVPedia:

  • Lott’s false claim is based on a basic error. For the period 1977–1997, Lott counts each individual mass shooting death as an entire mass shooting incident.
  • Even after Lott corrected his mistake, he made a new claim that 94% of mass shootings occurred in gun-free places, which is also based on flawed data and contradicts other research that concludes that 12% to 13% of mass shootings occur where guns are prohibited.