‘Profoundly Discriminatory’: LGBTQ Oregonians Fear New Gun Law Could Leave Them Vulnerable

Second Amendment


  • Oregon’s new gun law is “profoundly discriminatory” and places the LGBTQ community at risk to be “inhibited, delayed or prevented” from defending themselves, LGBTQ activists say.
  • The measure will place the LGBTQ community at risk, as the law allows “subjective criteria,” such as “increased risk of suicide for gender and sexual minorities” to be used as a means to remove a person’s Second Amendment rights.
  • The measure was passed by a slim margin in November, and many groups, to include gun rights advocates and police organizations, have criticized the law, resulting in numerous lawsuits and court injunctions being filed.

Oregon’s new gun law is “profoundly discriminatory” and places the LGBTQ community at risk to be “inhibited, delayed or prevented” from defending themselves, which is inherently “homophobic, transphobic, and violates both civil and human rights,” pro-gun LGBTQ groups Pink Pistols and Operation Blazing Sword told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

The law, Ballot Measure 114, will place the LGBTQ community at risk, as the law allows “subjective criteria,” such as “increased risk of suicide for gender and sexual minorities” to be used as a means to remove a person’s Second Amendment rights, Erin Palette, Founder of Operation Blazing Sword and national coordinator for Pink Pistols, told the DCNF. The measure was passed by a slim margin in November, and many groups, to include gun rights advocates and police organizations, have criticized the law, resulting in numerous lawsuits and court injunctions being filed.

Ballot Measure 114 will implement magazine capacity restrictions, stronger background checks and require residents to purchase a permit to own a gun. Alongside heightened requirements to own a gun, the law will allow the police, who are responsible for the permit process, to withhold a permit from anyone they feel should not own a gun, according to the legislation.

“A queer person seeking to purchase a firearm for the first time could be denied a permit by citing an ‘increased risk of suicide’ for gender and sexual minorities. Similarly, someone who exercises their First Amendment rights to assemble and protest could be deemed ‘a threat to the community’ and denied their Second Amendment rights,” Palette said.

“Operation Blazing Sword – Pink Pistols is pleased to announce that it will be filing an Amicus Curiae brief on behalf of the plaintiffs suing to overturn this law in the Eyre v. Rosenblum suit,” Palette said.

The Eyre v. Rosenblum suit was filed against Democratic Oregon Attorney General Ellen F. Rosenblum and Oregon State Police Superintendent Terri Davie. The lawsuit alleges that the measure infringes on the right of Oregon residents to own and buy firearms by imposing “severe and unprecedented burdens on individuals seeking to exercise perhaps the most basic right guaranteed by the Second Amendment.”

“The Oregon Department of Justice is defending the law that was passed by the voters of Oregon last month. In regard to the lawsuit filed yesterday, we are reviewing it,” a spokesperson for Rosenblum told the DCNF earlier this month.

Though Operation Blazing Sword and Pink Pistols are against Ballot Measure 114, many LGBTQ groups support stricter restraints on the gun purchasing process. The Pride Fund to End Gun Violence works with gun reform organizations to “mobilize the LGBTQ community and our allies, raise funds to counter the robust financial power of the NRA and gun manufacturers, and elect candidates who will champion these issues,” according to their website.

The Pride Fund to End Gun Violence did not respond to the DCNF’s request for an opinion on Oregon’s Ballot Measure 114.

Operation Blazing Sword and Pink Pistols believes that gun rights equal queer rights because “lawfully owned and lawfully carried firearms defend queer lives, and that self-defense is a human right,” Palette said. “Any measure which inhibits, delays, or prevents the ability of queer people to defend themselves is inherently homophobic and transphobic, and violates both civil and human rights.” (RELATED: Oregon’s New Gun Control Law Sparks Buying Spree As Thousands Race To Get Firearms)

Palette compared the measure to North Carolina’s Pistol Purchase Permit, which allowed handguns to be withheld from citizens for multiple reasons, saying it is like a  “Jim Crow-era law” as it uses “subjective criteria” to remove a person’s ability to own a firearm.

“Measure 114 fails to clearly define what does and does not disqualify applicants. Moreover, Measure 114 applies to all firearms, not just handguns, and so in this manner it drinks deeper from the tainted well of discrimination, giving local police the unprecedented ability to deny the Right to Keep and Bear Arms to anyone they choose for any reason,” Palette said.

Members and activists in Oregons’s LGBTQ community recently spoke with NPR to voice their concerns with the measure, saying they fear the measure will be used by the police to restrict gun ownership from people who disagree with them.

“I just feel like if I was to go online and say like the police are terrorists or something … [the police] would be like, ‘Well, you seem like you might not be fit for this community to be armed,’” Mia Rose, a trans person of color and former licensed firearms dealer, told NPR.

“Given abuses widely documented among law enforcement, [Measure 114] would create an environment ripe for further corruption,” activist Ross Eliot told NPR. “Police could easily restrict permits to preferred individuals and deny others without oversight to determine if people from particular racial or ethnic groups, religious backgrounds, LGBTQ status or political affiliations were being screened out.”

Rosenblum, Davie and Democratic Oregon Gov. Kate Brown did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

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