Gun-rights advocates are already drafting a lawsuit against Oregon’s new gun-control initiative.
The Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) and Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) said they plan to challenge Measure 114 after the Associated Press called the race in favor of supporters on Tuesday. The initiative to institute a permit-to-purchase system for guns and outlaw magazines that hold more than ten rounds won by just 1.6 percent, but even that thin margin puts it outside what’s needed for an automatic recount. The gun-rights groups said the law should not be allowed to go into effect anyway because they believe it violates the Second Amendment.
“We’re already working with our attorneys,” Alan Gottlieb, who started SAF, told The Reload. “We are on our second draft of the complaint, and we will definitely be filing.”
Gottlieb said his group plans to work with FPC on the suit, and they had already found several Oregon gun owners and licensed dealers who agreed to sign on. FPC tweeted on Tuesday that it has already started raising funds to “upset” the “disarmament regime by shredding Oregon Ballot Measure 114.”
The lawsuits will make the already difficult task of translating the ballot initiative into a workable law that much harder. Oregon State Police are tasked with creating systems to enforce the new gun restrictions by January 15th, 30 days after the vote is scheduled to be certified. However, the agency has not offered a plan for how the systems will work.
Measure 114 requires Oregonians to apply for a permit, pass a specialized state background check, pass the standard FBI background check, submit fingerprints, photo ID, proof of firearms training, and a $65 fee before being able to buy guns. The gun owner would also need to renew the permit every five years. But none of the rules for how the state will actually administer the new requirements have been determined.
Oregon State Police did not respond to a request for comment from The Reload but told The Seattle Times and OPB it is “assessing the required processes” and couldn’t comment until after the vote is certified in December.
Supporters of the initiative claim there will be plenty of time, potentially even months, for lawmakers and law-enforcement officials to work out the details.
“Sales will not halt because permits cannot be required until (Oregon State Police) develops the rules and finalizes the standardized form to apply,” Anthony Johnson, a spokesman for the Measure 114 campaign, told The Times.
But gun-rights proponents argue that nothing in the text of Measure 114 allows for implementation delays.
“A lot of gun-store operators are concerned that they’re not going to be able to sell any guns when there’s no system set up to be able to do it,” Gottlieb told The Reload. “[Measure 114 supporters] are arguing that that won’t be the case, but we don’t see how the wording allows them any authority to delay enforcement.”
Gottlieb said the only option is for the courts to step in and prevent the restrictions from going into place at all. He said SAF and FPC are waiting to see how Oregon officials approach rulemaking for the measure before finalizing their legal strategy. However, the groups have already identified key portions of Measure 114 they plan to target.
“Definitely the magazine ban,” he told The Reload. “And we’re toying with other parts of it as well, particularly the permitting system and training, which can’t be available right now.”
The gun-control initiative ran well behind ones to ban slavery as a criminal punishment and prevent lawmakers from running for re-election if they have more than ten unexcused absences from floor sessions. It also ran nearly 100,000 votes behind Democratic Senator Ron Wyden’s re-election. But it did manage to outpace a successful initiative to amend the state constitution to add access to affordable healthcare as an individual right.