What’s Next for Oregon?

by
posted on December 5, 2023
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When a circuit court judge imposed a permanent injunction against Oregon’s anti-freedom Ballot Measure 114 last week, it was just the latest skirmish in a year-long, up-and-down battle against the sweeping, poorly conceived law.

Circuit Court Judge Robert S. Raschio’s Nov. 21 order came after he ruled that the law violated two major provisions of the Oregon constitution that protect the right to bear arms.

“Oregon citizens have a right to self-defense against an imminent threat of harm, which is unduly burdened by Ballot Measure 114,” Judge Raschio wrote in the opinion.

Ballot Measure 114 was passed by a razor-thin margin, with 50.6% of voters voting for the restrictions and 49.4% voting against it. Among other things, the law creates a government registry of gun owners’ personal information and firearms, requires a permit to purchase a firearm, imposes an indefinite delay on background checks and bans any ammunition magazine that holds more than 10 rounds.

Implementation of the measure has been delayed since last December, thanks, in part, to a court challenge backed by the NRA in the case Eyre v. Rosenblum. In that case, a federal judge upheld the law, but enforcement has remained blocked pending further state and federal court decisions.

As with most court rulings, Judge Raschio’s recent decision is anything but final. And the battle over Measure 114 is sure to heat up further in 2024 as the state seems to be willing to spend more and more of taxpayer’s money to see the law implemented.

On the afternoon of the ruling, Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum (D) announced that the state would appeal. “The Harney County judge’s ruling is wrong,” she wrote in a statement.

Oregon Gov. Tina Kotek (D), herself an anti-gun advocate, has also pushed back on the ruling. “I disagree with the court’s ruling on Measure 114,” Gov. Kotek posted on X, formerly known as Twitter. “I support the AG’s plan to appeal it. Oregonians passed the measure and want solutions to the uniquely American epidemic of mass shootings.”

A win by either side at the appeals court level will almost certainly result in yet another appeal. Then, the matter would likely go before the Oregon Supreme Court.

Aside from the appeal in the recent circuit court decision, the NRA-backed federal case is also still pending. In that case, it was revealed that local law enforcement sought an extension to the law’s implementation because the required “permit-to-purchase” system hadn’t yet been created.

It’s also possible that the state legislature will again try to put Measure 114’s restrictions into effect. In March, the Senate Committee on Judiciary considered Senate Bill 348, which would have legislatively implemented the provisions of Measure 114. At that time, the measure stalled.

One thing’s for certain: As this battle continues to play out in 2024, the NRA won’t be backing down in its opposition to the law.

As the NRA Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) posted in a December 2022 news update: “NRA-ILA and its partners in the lawsuit—the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the NRA’s state affiliate the Oregon State Shooting Association, Mazama Sporting Goods, and the individual plaintiffs—are prepared to litigate this until the end, too.”

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