PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — In Oregon, guns are not allowed in public buildings — unless you have a concealed handgun license.

People with a concealed carry permit are exempt from the rule. “It’s called an affirmative defense,” said State Sen. Ginny Burdick. “But it functions as an exemption.”

Burdick said it’s time to do away with that exemption or at least give local authorities the option to do so. That’s why she’s a chief sponsor of Senate Bill 554.

If passed, the bill would do away with the concealed carry exemption in state buildings and the Capitol. But other local buildings and local governments will be able to make their own decisions.

Far-right protesters walk past the state capitol with long rifles during a rally on September 7, 2020 in Salem, Oregon. (Photo by Nathan Howard/Getty Images)

Senate Bill 554 would allow local governments and school districts and other local entities to keep their public buildings gun free,” Burdick said. “You have a state like Oregon, where people in more rural parts of the state look at guns a little differently than we do in urban areas. They don’t have to exclude concealed handgun license holders. And it also allows people not to just ban them, but to limit them.”

Burdick believes people bringing guns into the public is intimidating and unsafe.

“There’s no training requirement to get a concealed handgun license,” she said. “All you have to do is take a gun safety class. You don’t even need to own a gun. You don’t need to know how to fire one.”

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But the Oregon chapter of the NRA said Senate Bill 554 is bad legislation that would force law-abiding citizens to stow their guns in vehicles to avoid becoming a felon.

The president of the Oregon State Shooting Association, Kerry Spurgin, declined an on-camera interview and referred KOIN 6 News to their website for their state opposition.

The Oregon Senate will hold a third hearing on SB 554 on Thursday.