Oregon’s new, disastrous gun-control package, known as Ballot Measure 114, was due to go into effect this week. The initiative ballot measure, passed narrowly in November, seeks to create some of the most stringent gun-control laws in the country in what had previously been a surprisingly balanced gun-law state.
Bans of standard-capacity magazines containing more than 10 rounds, the creation of a Permit-to-Purchase system (for which the criteria and infrastructure have yet to even be created), and a provision requiring that background checks are complete before a firearm is transferred (closing the so-called “Charleston Loophole“) are among some of the more-objectionable provisions of the new law.
Proponents billed 114 as a life-saving “gun safety” suite of controls but in reality, these measures merely threaten to create thousands of overnight criminals out of every day, lawful Oregon residents, and a mass of uncertainty and confusion for everyone from the average citizen, to local police departments and sheriffs offices who will bear the brunt of developing, organizing, and issuing the permits people will now be required to purchase to exercise 2A rights.
While the merits of a citizen’s initiative ballot system can be debated, developments today show the clear folly of the drafting and adoption of Measure 114 – within no less than three hours, one federal lawsuit heard in Portland initially gave the go-ahead for portions of the law to go into effect by U.S. District Court Judge Karin Immergut, only to have the law sidelined temporarily by state circuit court Judge Robert Raschio in Harney County.
In Immergut’s ruling, she wrote that the magazine ban could proceed, but granted a state-requested 30-day delay to the permit requirement after state Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum’s office acknowledged that the criteria and training requirements for the permits do not currently exist. Her ruling also denied temporary restraining orders for the magazine capacity limit and additional background check portions of the measure.
In contrast, a separate case filed in state circuit court in more Second Amendment-friendly Harney County, heard by Judge Raschio, concluded with an initial granting of a temporary restraining order which blocks all provisions of the measure and sets a new hearing for December 13th.
In comparison with the federal lawsuit, the Harney County case challenges Measure 114 on the basis of Oregon’s state constitution, Article 1, Section 27 which clearly states, “The people shall have the right to bear arms for the defence [sic] of themselves, and the State, but the Military shall be kept in strict subordination to the civil power.”
The plaintiffs in this case, Gun Owners of America, claim that the state’s intent to cancel all transactions once the calendar ticks over to December 8th that don’t have a permit in place – since there doesn’t exist any mechanism to obtain a permit – amounts to a violation of Oregon residents’ Constitutional rights. Raschio’s ruling found that putting Measure 114 on hold will at least maintain a “status quo” until the court can determine if the measure is constitutional under that section of the state constitution.
“With implementation, there are serious harms to the public interest as well, which could include individuals being arrested and prosecuted for Class A misdemeanors under what could be found to be an unconstitutional statutory scheme,” Rachio’s ruling stated. “And that potentially could happen if Ballot Measure 114 is allowed to go into effect without significant judicial scrutiny.”
With no less than five lawsuits against the measure being litigated, the only thing certain for now is that Oregon’s residents won’t know for sure where their Second Amendment rights stand until some of the legal dust begins to settle – a prospect that, by some measures, may last years as legal challenges wind their way through state and federal courts.
As always, stay tuned for updates.