© 2024 | Jefferson Public Radio
Southern Oregon University
1250 Siskiyou Blvd.
Ashland, OR 97520
541.552.6301 | 800.782.6191
Listen | Discover | Engage a service of Southern Oregon University
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Too close to call: Measure 114 would tighten Oregon gun laws

FILE - In this Feb. 19, 2021, file photo, a man enters a gun shop in Salem, Ore.
Andrew Selsky
FILE - In this Feb. 19, 2021, file photo, a man enters a gun shop in Salem, Ore.

Measure 114 calls for a permit to purchase system for firearms and a ban on high-capacity magazines

Early returns on the measure that would tighten Oregon’s gun laws showed a race too close to call. If it prevails, Measure 114 will create a permit-to-purchase system and ban magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition.

Those rules would move Oregon from the middle of the pack to among the states with tighter gun laws.

“The vote counting is underway and it’s still too early to tell whether Measure 114 will pass,” Mark Knutson, pastor of Augustana Lutheran Church and Chair of Lift Every Voice Oregon, said in a statement just before 9 p.m. on election night. “As we wait for the final results, our hearts are full and our heads are held high, and we’re keeping hope alive.”

The statement went on to say the organizers behind Measure 114 trust Oregon’s election officials to count every vote and that they hope as yet uncounted votes in populous counties would ultimately weigh in their favor.

Gun deaths have been rising in Oregon. Nearly 600 people died by gun in 2020 — 77% of them by suicide.

This voter-initiated ballot measure gained steam in the days and weeks after the mass shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde in May. From an anemic start, the signature gathering campaign multiplied rapidly over the next two months, culminating with well more than the required number of signatures to make the ballot.

Created by a small group of faith-based activists, the measure has been criticized for being poorly thought out and likely to create a boondoggle of a new state-run program. Critics also worry about costs — both for gun buyers, who will now have to pay additional fees for a new background check, a gun safety course and the permit itself and to the local law enforcement agencies that will administer the program.

About a third to half of Oregonians own guns. Some gun owners who have spoken to OPB are opposed in principle to any measure tightening gun laws. However, recent polling data shows that Americans overall and Oregonians in particular are open to tightening gun regulations. Some who own guns but supported Measure 114 told OPB they were willing to put up with rules making it harder to buy a gun quickly if the change meant saving lives.

Others saw Measure 114 as an attempt to stop gun sales in the near term and ultimately take gun access away from law-abiding citizens.

If the measure does pass, the Oregon State Police will take up the rulemaking process to create the state’s new permitting system.

High capacity magazines would be officially banned from being bought, sold or made in the state with a few exceptions as of next spring, or 180 days after the new law goes into effect Those who already own a high capacity magazine could keep them, but only use them on private property or on a firing range.

If the measure does not pass, Oregon’s gun laws will not change. Anyone 18 or older willing to submit to a background check and not prohibited from owning a firearm under federal or state law will be able to buy a gun.

This is a developing story. Watch for updates.

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