Oregon Gun Relief Program Uses $576K Budget to Restore Gun Rights for 3 People

| by Dabney Bailey
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Three years ago, Oregon lawmakers created the Oregon Gun Relief Program so Oregon citizens with mental health histories would have a way to officially seek reinstatement of their gun rights. With a budget of $576,184 and three staffers, the Oregon Gun Relief Program was poised to help gun owners reclaim their beloved weapons.

So far, the organization has held three hearings in as many years. The last one was in July on 2011, and there are not any scheduled hearings anywhere on the horizon.

The OGRP was created as part of a compromise with the NRA. The government wanted to make it easier for government agencies to share the names of the mentally disturbed to prevent gun violence, but the NRA encouraged the state to set up a relief effort that would help people with a history of slight mental illness regain gun rights.

So far the OGRP has been a massive waste of tax payer dollars. Kristren Rand of the pro-gun control group, Violence Policy Center, argued the NRA was not “going to support [the mental health name-sharing bill] without the inclusion of the relief mechanism. They are 100 percent responsible for it being there."

The officials who created the OGRP might have had good intentions. Over the past three years, however, the handful of staff members simply has not had a lot of work to do. Luckily, they have not been twiddling their thumbs. The three staff members have been splitting their time with the Psychiatric Security Review Board, which supervises people found guilty for reasons other than insanity.

Though, you do have to give the OGRP credit where credit is due: the organization has a 100 percent success rate when it comes to restoring gun rights. The three men who petitioned to have their gun rights restored were asked a few questions about their mental health before a three-person panel gave the gun owners a thumbs up.

Steven Stewart was one such applicant. He expressed his gratitude for the OGRP, even though it is not the most cost efficient government agency in the world.

"I don't suffer from depression, delusions, hallucinations," he said. "I am pretty mentally fit. I am very successful ... I definitely believe there should be a process [to restore gun rights]."

Many people would agree, but is a ratio of $192,061 tax dollars for every one person who regains gun rights a good trade?

Source: Oregon Live