New Set Of Gun Permit Requirements, Ammo Limits Face Oregon Voters
Oregon voters will decide if Measure 114, scheduled to be on the November 8 ballot, is a long-in-coming, common sense approach to ensuring gun safety or a poorly conceived patchwork of purchasing restrictions that could lead to erosion of Second Amendment rights in the future.
The measure, also known as the Reduction of Gun Violence Act, qualified for the upcoming ballot in the July primary. About a month after that, a gunman opened fire at a Safeway supermarket in Bend, Oregon, killing two.
“Enough killing has happened. We need to have something change,” Thiel Larson of Lift Every Voice, an alliance of religious groups and other community interests that put Measure 114 on the ballot, told the Central Oregon Daily newspaper. “There are so many guns in this country.
“Responsible gun ownership is fine,” he added, “but we need to stop the killing of children and innocents.”
The ballot measure is intended to reduce gun violence, Rick Coufal of the Oregon Sport Shooting Association said in the Central Oregon Daily story, and “I don’t know of anybody in Oregon who is against reducing gun violence and preventing mass shootings.”
But, the problem, Coufal continued, “is the way this bill is written and how poorly it was written.”
Coufal said the bill includes no provisions for funding or training standards, but does comprise a number of unnecessary restrictions.
In fact, Measure 114 would not change the minimum age for buying a gun — 18 years for most firearms and 21 for some handguns. It would, however, require a permit to buy a gun at a cost of $65 per application. That permit would be good for five years, after which a $50 renewal fee would be needed.
Measure 114 would also require buyers to be fingerprinted, attend a mandatory safety training course and go through a criminal background check estimated to take up to 30 to complete.
“Well, it will slow the sale of the guns by having a background check and having permits and having training that slows the use of the gun,” Larson said.
According to Coufal, although the current waiting period is three days, the system already employs a background protocol that’s proved effective.
If passed, the measure would also establish a statewide gun owner database — and ban the sale of high-capacity magazines, which hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition. Any violation of that ban would be punishable with up to almost a year in jail, a fine of $6.200, or both.
Measure 114 actually does say a current owner of high capacity magazines can keep them, but would be restricted to use them on that owner’s private property or a shooting range.
The Oregon State Sheriffs’ Association opposes the measure and has predicted if it is approved, it would ultimately be found as unconstitutional.
In June, the United States Supreme Court directed federal appeals courts to revisit cases involving laws in California and New Jersey that limit the number of rounds a gun magazine can hold. That came soon after the high court ruled that Americans have a right to carry firearms in public for self-defense.
Deschutes County Sheriff Shane Nelson, the state sheriffs’ association president, said in a video released Oct. 24 that, by requiring law enforcement agencies to manage the firearm permitting system, Measure 114 would interfere with the ability of peace officers to respond to calls — during a period most agencies have already had to grapple with staffing issues.
Nelson told the Associated Press it was his understanding law enforcement would have to create and fund the permitting process using local budgets, which could cost agencies more than $49 million yearly.