Legislation /

Oregon Supreme Court Upholds Injunction on Measure 114

The policy requires a permit to buy a firearm in the state

A controversial regulation on guns that would require Oregon residents to obtain a permit to purchase a gun will not go into effect following a ruling from the state’s Supreme Court.

Three separate Second Amendment advocacy organizations sued to prevent Measure 114 from being enacted after it was narrowly passed by voters in November.

The law, also known as the Reduction of Gun Violence Act, was set to go into effect on Dec. 8 – 30 days after being publicly passed.

Advocates of the policy celebrated that it would make Oregon one of the most restrictive states for gun owners in the nation. Under the policy, anyone seeking to purchase a firearm would need to be granted a permit by the state government. As part of the application for the permit, an interested party would need to submit a photo and a full set of fingerprints to the government. He or she would also need to undergo a federal background check, complete a mandatory training course, and pay a $65 fee – all to be allowed to purchase a weapon. The permits would also expire after five years. 

An official process to obtain a permit has not been finalized, despite the impending enactment, which increased concern among opponents of Measure 114. Exemptions were granted for law enforcement or military personnel.

Oregonians would also be prohibited from purchasing a magazine that can hold 10 or more rounds of ammunition.

The legislation was passed by less than a 2% margin.

Harney County Circuit Court Judge Robert Raschio ruled on Dec. 6 that the law violated the right to bear arms, which the constitutions of both the United States and Oregon protect. The lawsuit was filed by the Gun Owners of America.

Raschio issued a temporary injunction against the measure and scheduled an in-depth hearing for Dec. 13.

The Oregon Supreme Court upheld Raschio’s ruling on Dec. 7.

Supreme Court Presiding Justice Martha L. Walters issued a two-paragraph decision and dismissed a petition from the Oregon Attorney General’s office to have the lower court’s ruling overturned “as moot.”

Opponents of Measure 114 included gun owners and sheriffs in rural areas, who said the policy was “unenforceable and will cut into limited law enforcement resources due to its training and administrative requirements,” per the Oregon Capital Chronicle.

Measure 114 did win at the federal level when U.S. District Judge Karin Immergut denied an emergency motion to have the policy blocked three hours before Raschio’s decision. 

“Plaintiffs have failed at this stage to carry their burden of showing a likelihood of success on the merits and irreparable harm,” the judge wrote.

The motion was filed on behalf of two individual gun store owners, three Oregon sheriffs, and an Oregon gun rights group, the Oregon Firearms Federation.

Immergut had ruled Measure 114 could take effect but, given the “difficulty” of implementing the permitting system as conceived by the state, the permitting provision would have been stayed for 30 days.

“We will petition to the Oregon Supreme Court ASAP, seeking to align the result in our state courts with the federal court’s well-reasoned and thoughtful decision,” tweeted Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum.

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