by Mark Chesnut - Thursday, December 15, 2022
Oregon hunters faced with the impending inability to purchase a firearm of any kind because of a restrictive, arguably unconstitutional ballot initiative that passed last month have received a reprieve—at least temporarily.
In November, voters approved Measure 114 by about a 1-percent margin (50.6 to 49.4 percent). In a nutshell, the measure creates a government registry of firearm owners’ personal information and firearms, requires a permit to purchase a firearm, imposes an indefinite delay on background checks and bans any magazine with more than a 10-round capacity.
While the measure was set to take effect Nov. 8, a National Rifle Association-backed lawsuit brought on behalf of several parties, including the Oregon State Shooting Association, the NRA’s state affiliate, sought to delay implementation based on several factors. And after initially pushing back against any delay, the state of Oregon capitulated, admitting that it did not have the proper systems in place to implement the law. Ultimately, on Dec. 7, the day before the law was to take effect, the Oregon Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling putting all the measure on hold. The ruling was in response to a petition filed by the state’s Justice Department asking the Oregon Supreme Court to vacate a lower court’s decision.
One of the main sticking points with the measure is the fact that the permit to purchase is a misnomer. As the NRA Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) noted in a news story announcing the lawsuit, the process requires individuals to complete several burdensome tasks to acquire a permit, but it does not actually permit them to then purchase a firearm. In fact, the measure’s text specifically states: “A permit-to-purchase issued under this section does not create any right of the permit holder to receive a firearm.”
“It’s difficult to imagine that no one realized the problems embedded in this ballot measure,” said Jason Ouimet, Executive Director of the NRA Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA). “It's a great example of what happens when people with no experience with an issue attempt to restrict the constitutional rights of law-abiding Americans.”
How can it be that Oregon has no system in place for issuing any permits, despite that the law was to take effect Dec. 8? Oregon’s law-abiding hunters and others seeking to purchase a firearm would not have been able to do so after that date had the law’s implementation not been delayed.
The NRA-backed lawsuit challenging the new law points that fact out in no uncertain terms. “One might think that a state bent on imposing such a novel and burdensome permitting regime would at least take the time to make sure it had the infrastructure and resources in place to ensure that it would operate as smoothly as possible,” the lawsuit states. “But Oregon is not even willing to do that. Instead, the state has rushed the effective date of its new law to December 8, 2022—before the vote on Measure 114 has even been certified, and before the mechanisms to comply with it will be anywhere close to in place.”
The lawsuit also calls onto the carpet Measure 114’s restrictive magazine ban. Lawful Americans own some 115 million such magazines, accounting for about half of all privately owned magazines in the United States. As the lawsuit tracks, “These magazines are commonly owned by millions of Americans for all manner of lawful purposes, including self-defense, sporting, and hunting.”
This case is yet another example of why gun owners must be vigilant in monitoring the issues impacting their constitutional freedoms. “Americans in every state should take heed because what happened in Oregon is an example of what happens when anti-gun lawmakers abuse democratic processes,” said Ouimet. “Billionaires like Michael Bloomberg are always waiting to finance these types of initiatives to get bad measures passed that fail to garner support in legislative chambers. The Oregon initiative was financed by a small group of billionaires and now the entire state of Oregon is left to clean up the mess.”
Stay tuned as the battle over Measure 114 continues in the courts. In the meantime, Oregon gun owners have some hope that the injunction is a first step toward a win. “The state of Oregon agreeing to be bound by our preliminary injunction is concession that there are grave problems with this ballot measure,” added Ouimet. “The harder they look, the more they will realize that this ballot measure should never be a part of Oregon law.”
About the Author
Freelance writer Mark Chesnut is the owner/editorial director at Red Setter Communications LLC in Jenks, Okla. An avid hunter, shooter and field-trialer, he has been covering Second Amendment issues and politics on a near-daily basis for over 20 years, previously serving as editor of the NRA’s America’s First Freedom.
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