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Measure 114 remains in legal limbo; state police plan to release temporary rules

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Pixabay

Measure 114 was approved by voters in November by a slim margin. The law would ban magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds, require a permit to purchase a firearm, and require a background check to be completed before a firearm can be transferred or sold.

The day before new voter-passed gun laws were set to go into effect, their fate remains in legal limbo. The administrative rules guiding the implementation of Measure 114, if it is allowed to go forward, are also being wrapped up at the last minute.

Harney County Circuit Court Judge Robert Raschio issued a temporary restraining order on Tuesday, blocking Measure 114 from going into effect on Dec. 8. Less than 24 hours later, the Oregon Department of Justice filed an appeal to the state Supreme Court saying Raschio committed fundamental errors and requesting an immediate review of his decision.

The state’s filing argues that Oregon’s constitution “protects weapons commonly used for self-defense in 1859 and, as to those, allows restrictions that reasonably relate to public safety.”

“Measure 114 easily satisfies those constitutional standards,” the filing says, before asking the Supreme Court to vacate Raschio’s ruling.

Measure 114 was approved by voters in November by a slim margin. The law would ban magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds, require a permit to purchase a firearm, and require a background check to be completed before a firearm can be transferred or sold.

A federal judge ruled on Tuesday on a lawsuit claiming the provisions violated the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. In that ruling, which she applied to three other lawsuits challenging Measure 114, U.S. District Court Judge Karin Immergut declined to issue a temporary restraining order and said the law could take effect while a more in-depth hearing moved forward.

The plaintiffs in one of those cases — three sheriffs, two gun store owners and the gun rights group Oregon Firearms Federation — filed an appeal Wednesday with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Raschio’s ruling on Tuesday found the law would violate the state constitution and blocked it from taking effect. Its fate, for the moment, lies with the Oregon Supreme Court.

Oregon State Police Superintendent Terri Davie said Wednesday her agency is aware of the changing legal landscape and is moving forward, finalizing temporary rules to implement Measure 114 if and when it is allowed to take effect.

“We are ensuring that our temporary rules are filed,” Davie told members of the Senate Judiciary Committee. “The form will go live tomorrow and we’ll ensure that it is available if somebody chooses to voluntarily work on going forward on a permit-to-purchase if they choose to go that route.”

Davie said Oregon State Police have been working with sheriffs and police chiefs to develop new training modules required to get a permit, covering safe storage and the impact of suicide. They are also drafting procedures for the requirement that a permit applicant demonstrate in-person their ability to safely load, unload, fire and store a firearm.

“One of the requirements of the ballot measure is that law enforcement certifies the vendor that provides that [training],” Davie said, “and that part is not set up.”

She said the state police website will be updated on Wednesday with more information on the permit application process. But she added the temporary rules they are drafting are just intended to get the measure implemented. A state police commander speaking alongside Davie said there will be a more involved permanent rulemaking process in the future, with an advisory committee and public hearings.

Copyright 2022 Oregon Public Broadcasting. To see more, visit Oregon Public Broadcasting.

Jonathan Levinson is a multimedia reporter and producer for Oregon Public Broadcasting. He’s the Audion Fellow covering Guns & America.