Oregon Supreme Court Upholds Order Blocking Enforcement of New Gun Law
Oregon Supreme Court Upholds Order Blocking Enforcement of New Gun Law

By Samantha Flom

A new Oregon law that requires a permit for the purchase of firearms and bans large-capacity magazines will remain on hold after the state’s Supreme Court upheld a lower court’s temporary restraining order halting its enforcement.

Ballot Measure 114, which was passed by Oregon voters on Nov. 8, was initially scheduled to take effect on Dec. 8.

However, in denying state Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum’s requests for a writ of mandamus and a stay of the Dec. 6 restraining order, Oregon Supreme Court Chief Justice Martha Waters ensured that the law’s enforcement would be put off for at least another week.

“If you’re wondering about the legal status of Measure 114, the law’s enforcement is (we hope temporarily) on hold by the state courts,” Rosenblum commented in a tweet. “There is a hearing in Harney County next week and we will continue to defend the constitutionality of this voter-passed gun safety law.”

The denial was a win for Gun Owners of America and the Gun Owners Foundation, which filed the suit against Rosenblum, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, and Oregon State Police Superintendent Terri Davie.

“Oregon tried to appeal our victory from yesterday, but we’re very grateful that the state Supreme Court sided in favor of GOA!” said Erich Pratt, senior vice president of Gun Owners of America.

The Law

Under current law, a permit is not required to purchase firearms in Oregon. A background check is required, but if it has not been completed within three days, the gun can be transferred. State law also does not currently include any restrictions on magazines.

Ballot Measure 114 will require individuals to complete a background check in order to obtain a permit to purchase a gun.

Additionally, the law will institute a ban on the manufacture, sale, use, or possession of magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition and allow a shooter to fire continuously “without having to pause to reload.” Violation of this ban will be considered a Class A misdemeanor, though exceptions would be made for law enforcement and armed services personnel in the performance of their duties.

The law also stipulates that those who already own or stand to inherit such magazines have an “affirmative defense” if they are used “on [the] owner’s property, at shooting ranges/competitions, while hunting consistent with applicable regulations, and during transport to [a] permissible location (if secured separately from firearm).”

Irreparable Harm

On Tuesday, Harney County Circuit Court Judge Robert S. Raschio granted the restraining order, holding that enforcement of Measure 114 would result in a violation of the plaintiffs’ rights under the Oregon Constitution.

“Absent entry of this Temporary Restraining Order, Plaintiffs will be deprived of their right to bear arms pursuant to Or. Const. Art. 1, Sec. 27 by being made unable to lawfully purchase a firearm or bear a magazine capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition in the State of Oregon,” Raschio reasoned. “Deprivation of fundamental constitutional rights for any period constitutes irreparable harm.”

That order followed a separate ruling earlier that day from a federal judge, who had denied a temporary restraining order against the law but granted a delay of 30 days for its permitting provisions.

“The mere possibility that Plaintiffs’ constitutional rights under the Second Amendment, Fifth Amendment, or Fourteenth Amendment could be hampered at some point in the future, without a showing of some real and immediate harm, is not sufficient to support a TRO,” U.S. District Judge Karin J. Immergut contended in that ruling.

However, Raschio’s ruling at the state level halted all provisions of the law from taking effect.

Guns for America celebrated the restraining order Tuesday, describing Measure 114 as “draconian and unconstitutional.”

Rosenblum, on the other hand, characterized the law’s provisions as life-saving measures.

“Magazine capacity restrictions and permitting requirements have a proven track record: they save lives!” she said in a statement, per WFMJ. “We are confident the Oregon Constitution—like the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution—allows these reasonable regulations.”

A hearing has been set for 9 a.m. on Dec. 13. During the hearing, the state will be required to “show cause, if any” as to why a preliminary injunction should not be granted.

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