SAF, FPC Sue to Block Oregon Measure 114, Hearing on Earlier Suit Scheduled for Friday

high capacity magazines
Standard capacity magazines that Oregonians won’t be able to buy under Measure 114 (Dan Z. for TTAG)

Oregon’s narrowly-passed ballot measure 114 is full of blatantly unconstitutional mandates that infringe on Second Amendment rights. Never mind that the state hasn’t figured out how to implement things like gun owner licensing, what the mandated “safety course” will look like, or how to enforce 114’s ban on “high capacity” magazine sales and transfers. 

As for the pre-purchases background checks Measure 114 mandates, not only does the state not have the manpower to process them, but applicants can be denied a permit to buy a gun if they are “reasonably likely to be a danger” to themselves or others, as a result of their mental or psychological state or a “past pattern of behavior.” There’s nothing vague and no possibility of subjective application of the law there, right?

Meanwhile, cheerleaders for the law are convinced they have God — or something — on their side. As Mark Knutson, chairman of the interfaith Lift Every Voice Oregon campaign and pastor at Portland’s Augustana Lutheran Church told the Associated Press . . .

“The arc of the moral universe is bending towards justice, and justice today is going to be ending gun violence in this country,” he said. “That’s why I trust this process will work … and a year and a half, two years from now, it’ll be 70% of the population saying this was the right thing to do — not the 51% that passed it.”

OK, but there’s still the little matter of the law’s constitutionality (or lack thereof). The law is set to go into effect next week. But before that happens, a suit filed by the Oregon Firearms Federation and others seeks to block it.

A federal judge in Portland will hear oral arguments Friday on whether Measure 114, which is scheduled to go into law Dec. 8, violates Americans’ constitutionally protected right to bear arms. Depending on the outcome, the groundbreaking law could be delayed for months or longer as it works its way through the courts, legal experts said.

And that’s not the only challenge to the law. Last night, another lawsuit was filed by the Second Amendment Foundation and the Firearms Policy Coalition. This one focuses on Measure 114’s magazine ban. Here’s SAF’s press release . . .

The Second Amendment Foundation today filed a federal lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Portland, Oregon challenging provisions of Ballot Measure 114, the restrictive gun control initiative passed Nov. 8 which bans standard capacity ammunition magazines among its tenets.

Joining SAF in the legal action are G4 Archery, Grayguns, Inc., the Firearms Policy Coalition and a private citizen, Mark Fitz. They are represented by attorney James L. Buchal, Murphy & Buchal LLP in Portland. Named as defendants are Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum and State Police Supt. Terri Davie, in their official capacities. A motion for injunctive relief may be read here.

“As we immediately explain in our lawsuit, the State of Oregon has criminalized one of the most common and important means by which its citizens can exercise their fundamental right of self-defense,” noted SAF Executive Director Adam Kraut. “By banning the manufacture, importation, possession, use, purchase, sale, or transfer of standard-capacity magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds the State has barred law-abiding, peaceable residents from legally acquiring or possessing common ammunition magazines and deprived them of an effective means of self-defense.”

SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb explained, “Maybe the most frustrating thing about the Oregon measure is that officials there are willing to enforce the law’s provisions despite any real prospect this law is going to reduce violent crime. The only people actually impacted are law-abiding citizens who don’t commit crimes, and who will be left more vulnerable to attack because of this new law.”

As noted in SAF’s complaint, the magazines banned under the language of Measure 114 are commonly-owned across the United States by millions of honest citizens. They are standard capacity magazines in many firearms, including handguns used for personal and home protection, competition, recreational shooting, predator control, and other legitimate activities. According to the 2021 National Firearms Survey, an estimated 48 percent of American gun owners have owned magazines that hold more than 10 cartridges.

“Because the provisions of Measure 114 are scheduled to take effect Dec. 8,” Kraut noted, “we are asking the court for a declaratory judgment and injunctive relief.”


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