Oregonians approved new gun safety restrictions, but several sheriffs announced their departments would not enforce the voters’ decision. They argue that Measure 114 is unconstitutional. Sherman County Sheriff Brad Lohrey and others filed a federal lawsuit to prevent the firearm laws from taking effect.
The Oregon Firearms Federation (OFF) and Adam Johnson, the owner of Coat of Arms Custom Firearms in Kaizer, joined Lohrey in filing the lawsuit on November 18, 2022. The suit maintains that the ban on magazines that hold more than 10 rounds infringes on the Second Amendment guarantee of the right to bear arms and due process.
Attorney John Kaempf said he filed the lawsuit with the U.S. District Court in Pendleton since many firearm federation members live in or near the area. He wrote the following argument in his brief:
Banning magazines over 10 rounds is no more likely to reduce criminal abuse of guns than banning high-horsepower engines is likely to reduce criminal abuse of automobiles.
[On] the contrary, the only thing the ban contained in 114 ensures is that a criminal unlawfully carrying a firearm with a magazine over 10 rounds will have a potentially devastating advantage over his law-abiding victim.
In addition to the federation, the National Rifle Association (NRA), Second Amendment Foundation (SAF), and other gun rights advocates support sheriff opposition to Measure 114. These groups hope to secure a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction to halt the initiative from taking effect on December 8.
Sheriffs’ Mixed Reactions to Measure 114
Sheriffs have voiced opposition to the gun law changes Oregon’s voters approved. Some complaints concern Measure 114’s constitutionality, whereas others center around the law’s increased administrative accountability for law enforcement and gun sales.
The Oregon State Sheriff’s Association said it was not consulted when the measure was drafted, and the group understands the uncertainty it caused.
Nonetheless, it was passed by voters. As such, until all or part of the measure is stayed or found unconstitutional by a court, the measure is the law in Oregon.
Pendleton Judge Set to Hear Lawsuit
U.S. District Judge Karin Immergut will hear the emergency motion for a preliminary injunction on Friday, December 2. The state has until Wednesday, November 30, to file a response.
Due to the sheriff’s lawsuit, the gun safety measure’s fate remains in limbo. Moreover, there is no way of knowing if the suit will derail Oregon’s newest firearms regulations.
Written by Cathy Milne-Ware
The Oregonian: Can Oregon’s Measure 114, new gun limits, be stopped by court challenges?
OPB: Oregon gun rights group sues state leaders over Measure 114; by April Ehrlich
Oregon State Sheriff’s Association: OSSA Statement Regarding Measure 114 – 11/17-22