Voters in Oregon passed a strict new gun law, but it hasn’t gone into effect yet because the state Supreme Court turned down an emergency motion by the state to overturn a lower court’s ruling.
Oregon’s highest court Chief Justice Martha Walters made a decision on Wednesday that denied Democratic Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum’s request to bring back Measure 114. The law was supposed to go into effect on Thursday, but gun rights groups sued, and Harney County Judge Robert Raschio stopped the measure.
The measure bans the sale and transfer of high-capacity magazines and requires new gun buyers to get criminal background checks, fingerprints, permits, and hands-on training. Raschio’s decision came before Walters’s. A federal court judge had already ruled in favor of the law before Raschio’s decision.
A Federal Judge Says Gun Control Can Go Forward in Oregon, but a State Judge Says No
Gun rights groups like Gun Owners of America, the Gun Owners Foundation, and a few other independent gun owners filed the lawsuit that ended up in Harney County. They want the law to be put on hold while its constitutionality is being decided in court.
Notably, the state lawsuit against the measure backed by voters is based on the state constitution, not the U.S. Constitution. This means that for now, the state judge’s decision applies to the whole state. Just hours before Raschio’s decision, a federal judge in Portland ruled in favour of supporters of Measure 114, which state voters narrowly passed last month with 50.7% of the vote.
With her ruling, U.S. District Judge Karin Immergut made it possible for the ban on the sale and transfer of high-capacity magazines to go into effect on Thursday. She also gave a 30-day break before the law’s requirement that buyers get a permit to buy guns goes into effect.
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Immergut wrote, “The evidence also shows that large-capacity magazines are used disproportionately in crimes involving mass shootings.” He also said that the plaintiffs had not shown how magazines that hold more than 10 rounds are “arms” that are protected by the Second Amendment.
Voters passed a law that requires new gun buyers to have their fingerprints taken and go through a criminal background check. Also, it makes it illegal to sell, import, or give away gun magazines with more than 10 rounds unless they belong to members of the military or law enforcement or were in their possession before the measure was passed.
After the measure goes into effect, people who already own high-capacity magazines will only be able to use them on their own property, at a shooting range, in a shooting competition, or while hunting if the state law lets them. A person who is 18 or older and gets a gun as a gift or from another private owner without a permit does not need a permit.
During the federal court proceedings, the important Supreme Court decision from June that changed the way gun laws are judged was often brought up. In the 5-4 decision in New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen, the justices said that any restrictions on gun ownership must be based on U.S. traditions that go back to when the Second Amendment was passed.
The high court’s decision also hurt the rules for getting a gun permit. Now, those rules can’t make an applicant explain why they need a gun.
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