© 2023 | Jefferson Public Radio
Southern Oregon University
1250 Siskiyou Blvd.
Ashland, OR 97520
541.552.6301 | 800.782.6191
a service of Southern Oregon University
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Gun rights groups plan to appeal federal judge’s decision upholding Oregon gun safety law

Firearms rights groups plan to appeal a federal judge's ruling that upholds Measure 114, a voter-passed gun safety law in Oregon. Firearms on display in a Salem gun shop.
Connor Radnovich
Oregon Capital Chronicle
Firearms rights groups plan to appeal a federal judge's ruling that upholds Measure 114, a voter-passed gun safety law in Oregon. Firearms on display in a Salem gun shop.

Gun rights groups on Monday filed notice to appeal a federal judge’s ruling upholding a voter-approved Oregon law that bans large ammunition magazines and requires permits to buy guns.

The notice to appeal follows the release by U.S. District Court Judge Karin Immergut on Friday of a 122-page opinion that found all parts of Measure 114, which voters passed last year, are constitutional. That ruling upheld the law, which includes a ban on making, selling or purchasing ammunition magazines with more than 10 rounds and would require applicants to take a firearm safety course and pass a background check to receive a permit to purchase a gun. It also would close a loophole in federal gun law that allows people to buy guns without a completed background check if it takes more than three days to process a background check.

Measure 114 remains on hold because of an ongoing court case in Harney County, where a trial is set for September.

Portland attorney James Buchal filed the appeal notice on behalf of Mark Fitz, Grayguns, Inc., G4 Archery, Second Amendment Foundation and Firearms Policy Coalition.

In court filings, the Second Amendment Foundation, a nonprofit based in Washington state, says it has more than 700,000 supporters and members nationwide, including thousands in Oregon, and advocates for firearms rights. The Firearms Policy Coalition, a nonprofit based in California, lobbies and advocates for firearms rights as well. Fitz, a Clackamas County resident, is a firearms owner and member of the Second Amendment Foundation and Firearms Policy Coalition. Grayguns, based in Douglas County, and G4 Archery, located west of Portland in Washington County, are both federally licensed firearms dealers in Oregon.

The Oregon Department of Justice is defending Measure 114 in court. Michael Kron, special counsel to Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, said an appeal was expected, regardless of which side won. Kron said the state looks forward to showing that the judge’s ruling upholding Measure 114 was sound.

The federal judge’s ruling came after a weeklong trial with testimony from both sides. Immergut, the judge, found that the gun groups failed to prove that the Second Amendment protects large-capacity magazines and that Oregon’s restrictions are consistent with firearm regulations history.

Mass murderers have used large-capacity magazines in shootings, including the three deadliest on American soil: the 2017 Las Vegas shooting at a country music festival that killed 60 people; the 2016 Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida, where 49 people died; and the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting where 32 people died.

Supporters of the ban on large capacity magazines say people have a chance to run, hide or fend off the shooter when they pause to reload their firearms.

Nine children fled when a school shooter in Newtown, Connecticut, stopped to reload his gun in 2012, and congregants at a synagogue shooting in California in 2019 chased the shooter out after he fired all 10 rounds and tried to reload his weapon, the judge’s opinion says.

On Thursday, Gov. Tina Kotek signed into law a ban on the manufacture or sale of so-called “ghost guns,” or homemade firearms that lack serial numbers and can’t be traced. Gun-rights groups want to get a measure on the 2024 ballot that would eliminate Oregon’s concealed carry permit law and allow firearms owners to carry concealed weapons without licenses.

The Oregon Capital Chronicle is a professional, nonprofit news organization. We are an affiliate of States Newsroom, a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit supported by grants and a coalition of donors and readers. The Capital Chronicle retains full editorial independence, meaning decisions about news and coverage are made by Oregonians for Oregonians.