Oregon Representative Kurt Schrader, a longtime Canby-area resident and former Canby planning commissioner, was one of only two congressional Democrats to vote against a sweeping gun package Wednesday.
The “Protecting Our Kids Act,” which passed the U.S. House on a largely party-line vote, would raise the minimum age for buying a semi-automatic weapon from 18 to 21, ban ammunition magazines with more than 15 rounds, tighten regulations around “ghost guns” and gun storage and make it a federal crime to buy a gun for someone who can’t pass a background check.
Lawmakers voted on each provision individually, then on the entire bill.
Schrader voted against the combined package and against individual provisions to raise the age to buy semi-automatic weapons and ban high-capacity magazines. He was recorded as “not voting” on the section of the bill requiring safe weapon storage.
His spokesman did not respond to emailed questions from the Capital Chronicle on Thursday morning, nor did Schrader address his votes on the House floor or through statements or social media afterward.
Maine Representative Jared Golden, the only other Democrat who voted against the gun control legislation, published a lengthy press release and blog post explaining his vote and saying that the House’s legislation was too sweeping and doesn’t stand a chance of becoming law.
Five House Republicans voted for the Protecting Our Kids Act, and a bipartisan group of senators is crafting their own, narrower gun legislation.
The Senate’s filibuster rules require Democrats, who hold the narrowest of majorities in that chamber, to get support from at least 10 Republicans to pass most legislation.
Shortly after a gunman killed 19 young children at a Texas elementary school in May, Schrader told the Capital Chronicle that the country needed “immediate action to ensure no more lives are lost.”
He described his support for two background check measures that passed the House and future gun safety protections, including increased funding for school safety grants and gun violence research.
“Immediately, we need to strengthen and implement universal background checks with the Federal Bureau of Investigation in charge,” Schrader said at the time. “We also need to fix loopholes in our current gun laws that have made it way too easy for individuals who should not be able to access guns in the first place.
“This includes the ‘boyfriend’’ loophole, which is already enforced in Oregon, which would help protect dating partners from domestic abusers with guns.”
On his congressional website, Schrader describes himself as a lifelong gun owner and promises to protect the Second Amendment.
He also lists some gun control measures he supports, including expanding background checks, allowing courts to temporarily limit someone’s access to guns if they pose a threat to themselves or others, and seeking more data on school shootings.
Schrader, the most conservative member of Oregon’s Democratic congressional delegation, lost his primary to central Oregon attorney Jamie McLeod-Skinner in May.
Unusually, his defeat was aided by the work of party organizations in all four counties in the new 5th District of Oregon, with Clackamas County Democrats going so far as to draft what was essentially a list of grievances detailing dozens of Schrader’s votes they said went against the interests of Oregonians and the party’s platform.
His ultimate replacement will be decided in the November general election between McLeod-Skinner and former Happy Valley Mayor Lori Chavez-DeRemer, the Republican nominee.
Oregon Capital Chronicle is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501(c)(3) public charity. Oregon Capital Chronicle maintains editorial independence.
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