Judge upholds ruling blocking Oregon’s strict new gun measure

by Chris Lange

Chris Lange, FISM News


The strict new gun law in Oregon remains on hold Thursday after a state Supreme Court judge denied the state’s emergency motion, which sought to overturn a lower court’s decision that prevented the measure from taking effect.

U.S. District Judge Karin Immergut ruled on Tuesday that the law, considered to be among the strictest gun control measures in the nation, could go into effect Thursday. Hours later, however, Harney County Judge Robert Raschio blocked the measure from taking effect in a lawsuit filed by Gun Owners of America Inc., the Gun Owners Foundation, and individual gun owners, who alleged that the measure violates the state’s constitution.

“With implementation [of Measure 114], 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,” Raschio said in his decision, as reported by The Oregonian. “And that potential could happen if Ballot Measure 114 is allowed to go into effect without significant judicial scrutiny. And certainly, no one would argue that individual liberty is not a cornerstone of our country. First the people, then the state,” he said.

Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum expressed her disappointment in the decision in a Dec. 7 statement.

“We strongly disagree with the decision of the Harney County Circuit Court,” Rosenblum wrote. “Magazine capacity restrictions and permitting requirements have a proven track record: they save lives! We are confident the Oregon Constitution — like the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution — allows these reasonable regulations.”

The law, known as Measure 11, which was narrowly passed by voters in Oregon’s November election, bans the sales of magazines with a capacity of more than 10 rounds to individuals, other than law enforcement or military service members, and requires a permit to purchase any gun and a fee of up to $65.

In order to qualify for a permit, applicants must complete a training course from an approved instructor and pass a skills test. They must also clear a criminal background check and undergo a behavioral risk assessment by the permitting agent, who has the authority to make a determination as to whether applicants could potentially pose a risk to themselves or others based on their mental state and/or past behavior. The measure also requires that applicants be photographed and fingerprinted and tasks the state police with establishing a database in which to store these records.

The law’s passage has resulted in several legal challenges. Meanwhile, gun sales in the state have soared as Oregonians rush to purchase firearms before the measure goes into effect.