Gun safety should be a priority for every American. Voters know this truth, but NRA-backed Republicans do not care how many people are killed by firearm-wielding individuals. Measure 114, which Oregon voters passed last November, requires a gun permit and bans some magazines. However, the law never went into effect due to GOP pushback, resulting in an indefinite block against the sensible law. On Friday, July 14, 2023, a federal judge ruled the firearms measure does not violate the Constitution.
According to KGW News reporting, “U.S. District Judge Karin Immergut said the Second Amendment does not protect large-capacity magazines. The ruling also states the permit system is also consistent with other regulations [that] the [U.S.] Supreme Court has already deemed constitutional.”
Despite being good news, Judge Immergut’s ruling does not change the delay in enacting Measure 114. The measure remains on hold until September when a judge in Harney County will look at the Oregon Consitution.
In response to Immergut’s ruling, Oregon Alliance for Gun Safety Executive Director Jess Marks issued a statement:
“We know Measure 114 is an effective and life-saving policy, and now a federal judge has ruled it is also in line with the U.S. Constitution. The [U.S.] Supreme Court has articulated that Second Amendment rights are not unchecked — they come with responsibilities — and the U.S. District Court affirmed this in our case. This victory belongs to those who have lost loved ones to gun violence and to every Oregonian who demanded change.”
The Oregon Supreme Court failed to side with the state’s petition to overturn Harney County Circuit Judge Robert S. Raschio’s orders to halt Measure 114’s regulation. In January, Assistant Attorney General Robert A. Koch argued the high court’s intervention was necessary to allow the will of Oregonians to proceed.
The Harney County judge will likely overturn Friday’s ruling in September. This will create a situation similar to the OTC abortion drugs. With two different rulings on Measure 114’s constitutionality, it is also likely the State Supreme Court will hear the case.
The issue runs deeper than gun safety in Oregon. West of the Cascade Range, the state is predominately Democrat and independent, whereas the counties to the East are conservative. Despite being the minority, these rural counties regularly fight against voter-approved legislation and actively seek to secede. Since their lifestyles and values align with those of Idaho, perhaps it’s time for the Greater Idaho Project to become a reality.
Additionally, Oregon Senate Republicans refused to discuss, let alone vote on, any legislation they did not like. They violated the state’s Constitution by staging a six-week walkout bringing the session to a standstill and leaving vital bills like the budget languishing. As a result of their protest, many GOP members do not qualify for re-election, although many have vowed to take legal action. If they do, they are once again dismissing the state’s voters.
In 2022, Measure 113 — the Exclusion from Re-election for Legislative Absenteeism — overwhelmingly passed. It amended the Constitution of Oregon. Article IV, Section 15 says that the state’s legislative members with 10 unexcused absences from floor sessions are disqualified from serving in the legislature following their current term.
If Article IV of the Oregon State Constitution (Measure 113) and Measure 114 are challenged, it could be a busy fall and winter for the State Supreme Court.
Written by Cathy Milne-Ware
KGW NBC News: Judge finds Oregon’s Measure 114 is constitutional
Oregon Live: State petitions OR Supreme Court to overturn Harney County judge’s orders blocking gun control Measure 114; by Maxine Bernstein