Oregon interfaith group pushes for full enactment of Measure 114 gun laws
The interfaith group of churches, mosques, synagogues and other denominations that championed Oregon’s Measure 114 gun laws is trying to generate momentum to get them fully enacted.
Measure 114 was passed by voters on a slim margin in November. It bans magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds. It requires a permit to purchase a firearm. And it requires a background check to be completed before a firearm can be transferred.
But a preliminary injunction by a Harney County judge has blocked Measure 114 from going into effect. Four federal lawsuits have also been filed against the new laws.
A Measure 114 chief petitioner, Rev. Mark Knutson of Portland’s Augustana Lutheran Church, led a pre-legislative press conference Wednesday and said he’s not worried about legal challenges.
“We know the courts are going to carry this through,” he said. “We trust that process. We need to make sure the Legislature is bold and make sure it’s implemented the way the people passed it. Because implementation is everything.”
Knutson said they’re particularly focused on ensuring legislators fully fund the new permit to purchase system.
“We are poised and ready to help the Legislature and the state police and others who want to see this implemented well and justly, to show the nation, this can be done,” he said.
Opponents have been especially vocal about the failure of the original measure to outline where funding for the new permitting system would come from. State police provided initial estimates of what it would cost, but the Secretary of State’s office ultimately concluded it was unclear how much would have to be spent to get the new laws in place, versus how much would be saved by the reduction in gun violence.
A full hearing on whether the new regulations are legal under the state constitution has yet to be scheduled in Harney County. The Oregon justice department is already asking for a review of the judge’s rulings in the case so far by the state supreme court.
Supporters hope that Oregon’s passage of Measure 114 acts as a model for the nation. Chief petitioner Marilyn Keller pointed to the passage of a military style weapons ban in Illinois and a large capacity magazine ban in Rhode Island as proof that such laws are possible.
Washington’s governor, Jay Inslee, has also put his legislative weight behind a ban on military-style weapons, requiring a permit to purchase a gun and making gun sellers potentially liable for negligent sales.
“We know that the status quo means more death. More gun violence,” said Rabbi Michael Cahana at the Portland press conference at Augustana Lutheran Church.
“We’ve heard over and over again, enough is enough.”
Copyright 2023 Oregon Public Broadcasting. To see more, visit Oregon Public Broadcasting.