Oregonians won’t be able to legally buy guns after December 8th if their new ballot initiative goes into effect.
That’s according to the Oregon Department of Justice (DOJ), which is tasked with defending Measure 114 in court. The DOJ’s latest filing related to four cases against the law asks federal district judge Karin Immergut, a Trump appointee, to delay implementation of the permit-to-purchase and mandatory training requirements.
“[T]he State agrees that the Court should enter an order providing a limited window in which Oregonians will be able to purchase firearms even if they do not have a permit, while also allowing Oregonians to apply for and be issued permits,” Brian Simmonds Marshall, Senior Assistant Attorney General, said in a filing.
The filing casts further doubt on the viability of the gun-control measure. After passing by just 1.6 percent, the measure came under immediate legal scrutiny from gun-rights advocates as supporters scrambled to explain how the law could possibly be implemented within 30 days of the vote. With the total elimination of legal gun sales looming, Oregonians have set new records by flooding gun stores ahead of the deadline. If the DOJ delaying request fails and gun sales in the state are wholly eliminated, the law is unlikely to survive the multiple challenges to its constitutionality.
Oregon argued the delay is only necessary to overcome implementation issues. It said the underlying requirements are consistent with the Second Amendment.
“The State’s position that Measure 114 is constitutional on its face remains the same,” Marshall wrote. “As our briefing will explain, there is no basis to enjoin Measure 114’s provisions governing the issuance of permits to purchase (§§ 4–5), its restrictions on large-capacity magazines (§ 11), or various provisions requiring completed background checks when firearms are purchased.”
However, every major gun-rights group in the country disagrees. The National Rifle Association, Gun Owners of America, and Firearms Policy Coalition or their state affiliates have all filed suit against the initiative. Alan Gottlieb, whose Second Amendment Foundation has also filed suit against the law, said the DOJ’s filing proves the law is inoperable.
“Even the Oregon Attorney General has to admit that the law is unworkable,” Gottlieb told The Reload. “We think it needs to be thrown out by the court in total.”
The Oregon DOJ told Judge Immergut the main issue lies with developing and implementing the required firearms training by the deadline.
“Local law enforcement partners have made it clear that necessary pieces of the permit to purchase system will not be in place by December 8,” Marshall wrote. “Most significantly, Measure 114 requires a person applying for a permit to purchase a firearm to present their police chief or county sheriff with “proof of completion of a firearm safety course.” § 4(1)(b)(D). After the Court’s December 2 hearing, the state learned from local law enforcement agencies that one element of the safety course—an “[i]n-person demonstration … before an instructor certified by a law enforcement agency,” Measure 114 § 4(8)(c)(D)—will not be available by December 8.”
The state said it could take months beyond the December 8th deadline to make a workable system under the law.
“As such, it has become clear that the police chiefs and sheriffs (who serve as the sole permitting agents under Measure 114) will not be prepared to issue permits on December 8,” Marshall wrote. “Executive Director Myers represented that it will take ‘at least another month’ to prepare an operational permit system.”
Judge Immergut is scheduled to issue a decision on whether to temporarily block the law sometime this week.