KGW Staff, Amy-Xiaoshi DePaola, Katherine Cook
OREGON, USA — A Harney County Circuit Court judge permanently blocked Oregon from enforcing Measure 114 Tuesday, saying that it infringes on the right to bear arms under the state constitution. The ruling will prevent the gun control measure from taking effect, but the state said it will file an appeal.
Measure 114, narrowly passed by voters in 2022, calls for stricter gun laws in Oregon. It would require a police-issued, five-year permit and a federal criminal background check on all gun purchases, as well as required gun safety training. The measure bans the sale of magazines holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition, but leaves an exception for people who already own larger magazines.
Earlier this year, a federal judge ruled that Measure 114 is lawful under the U.S. Constitution, finding that large-capacity magazines are not commonly used for self-defense and a permit-to-purchase system is constitutional. That ruling is also being appealed.
On Tuesday, Circuit Judge Robert S. Raschio ruled that two major provisions of Measure 114 violate Article 1, Section 27 of the state’s constitution: “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.”
In the ruling, Raschio said that Measure 114 “does not increase public safety,” despite arguments from state lawyers that the new regulations were intended to reduce mass shootings, homicides and suicides. He stated that the 30-day window to process a gun permit application would allegedly prevent Oregonians from properly defending themselves from an imminent threat.
Raschio also argued that “Nearly all people who own large capacity magazines are reasonable gunowners who are not identifiable risks to their community nor cast an unjustifiable risk or threat of harm to other citizens.” He stated that the large-capacity magazine ban wouldn’t deter shooters who could simply carry multiple 10-round magazines and reload quickly.
The language of Measure 114 “regarding ‘change’ and ‘permanently alter’ clearly unduly burdens the right to bear arms” under the state constitution, according to the court ruling.
“The court makes this declaration to settle and to afford relief from uncertainty and insecurity with respect to bear arms in Oregon,” the ruling stated.
In response to a request for comment, Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum released the following short statement:
“The Harney County judge’s ruling is wrong. Worse, it needlessly puts Oregonians’ lives at risk. The state will file an appeal and we believe we will prevail.”
Lift Every Voice Oregon, the Portland interfaith group that championed Measure 114, said that it was disappointed by Raschio’s ruling but not surprised, based on his initial ruling to block the measure from taking effect and his decisions during the trial itself.
“Measure 114 was passed into law over a year ago,” said Rev. Dr. Mark Knutson, one of the measure’s chief petitioners. “Voters were clear that these life-saving policies should be the law in Oregon. We know these policies have been upheld by courts in other states, and though we anticipated Judge Raschio would rule the way he did, we have been preparing for the appellate process for some time now. We are ready to move forward in the Court of Appeals and even the Oregon Supreme Court to get 114 implemented.”
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