In Short

Oregon Supreme Court denies request to enact gun control measure

By: - February 9, 2023 5:54 pm
gun control

Firearm sales have been brisk at Tick Licker in Salem since Measure 114, which tightens Oregon’s gun control laws, passed in November 2022. (Connor Radnovich/Oregon Capital Chronicle)

The Oregon Supreme Court denied a request by Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum to allow Measure 114 to go into effect in a ruling on Thursday.

The decision means legal challenges to the gun-control measure will move forward and all parts of the law will remain paused.

In a press release Thursday, the state’s high court acknowledged the controversial nature of the measure, which has remained in legal limbo since voters narrowly approved it in November. Measure 114 would require purchasers to take a safety course, pass a background check and obtain a permit before obtaining a firearm. It would also ban magazines or ammunition feeders that can hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition.

“The court recognized that the legal status of Measure 114 is of significant concern to many Oregonians and that the judicial branch’s role is to resolve disputes such as challenges to laws enacted by the legislative branch, including the people exercising their initiative power,” the court said. 

However, it is “not an appropriate time” to interject in the matter, the statement said.

The court also denied a request by Rosenblum and the Oregon Department of Justice to halt upcoming court proceedings that are part of the legal challenges to the gun regulations.

The Virginia-based gun rights group Gun Owners of America and two Harney  County residents filed a lawsuit against Measure 114 shortly after a slim majority of voters approved it. A spokesperson for Gun Owners of America did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Measure 114 tasked Oregon officials with building a statewide permit system by Dec. 8. But after the measure passed, officials said they wouldn’t be ready by then. 

Harney County Judge Robert Raschio paused the measure’s permit and background check requirements until officials set up the permit process. In a parallel challenge to the measure in federal court, state officials said they would need until March 7 to prepare a permit system.

Raschio has also paused the ban on larger magazines until he holds hearings.

“I am very disappointed that the Oregon Supreme Court denied our request to allow Measure 114, Oregon’s new gun safety law, to take effect now,” Rosenblum said Thursday on Twitter. “We intend to continue to defend the law zealously in the Harney County court.”

 

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Grant Stringer
Grant Stringer

Grant Stringer is a freelance journalist in Oregon who writes for national newspapers like the Washington Post and outlets in the West, including the Capital Chronicle and the Oregonian/OregonLive. He specializes in features, solutions journalism and social policy stories.

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