Federal Judge Rules That Oregon Gun Measure Is Constitutional

Second Amendment

Following a week-long trial in early June, U.S. District Court Judge Karin Immergut ruled on July 14 that Oregon’s voter-approved gun safety laws are constitutional under the United States Constitution.

On July 17, lawyers for the gun rights groups who challenged the measure filed a notice of their plans to appeal the judge’s ruling.

For now, though, Ballot Measure 114 remains on hold due to a state court injunction.

The case is among the first challenges heard since the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark ruling last year in New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen.

Should Ballot Measure 114 survive its legal test, Oregon would have among the strictest gun laws in the nation.

A demonstrator carries a rifle during a pro-gun rally on Jan. 19, 2013, in Olympia, Washington. (David Ryder/Getty Images)

The measure would ban the manufacture and sale of magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds and require anyone who wishes to obtain a firearm to get a permit first.


Permits will require taking a safety course, demonstrating competency with a firearm, paying fees, and completing a federal background check.

Those who already own high-capacity magazines can only possess them at home or use them at a firing range, in shooting competitions, or for hunting as allowed by state law if the measure takes effect.

Passed by Oregon voters last November with 50.7 percent of the vote, the measure has yet to be enforced pending an injunction granted by Harney County Judge Robert S. Raschio in a separate suit filed in state court.

Ruling for the Measure

The trial in Portland represented a consolidation of four cases filed by plaintiffs—including three elected sheriffs, two Oregon gun store owners, the Washington-based Second Amendment Foundation, the Oregon Shooting Sports Association (OSSA), and the Oregon Firearms Federation (OFF), an Oregon gun rights advocacy group.

Defendants in the suit are the Oregon Department of Justice and the Oregon Alliance for Gun Safety.

Plaintiffs argued that Ballot Measure 114 would virtually end the legal sale of firearms in the state and deprive citizens of their Second Amendment rights under the U.S. Constitution.

They also claimed the measure would violate the Due Process Clause by criminalizing the possession of magazines that were legal when acquired.

In her 122-page written order issued July 14, Judge Immergut found that banning large capacity magazines and requiring a permit to purchase a firearm are in keeping with “the nation’s history and tradition of regulating uniquely dangerous features of weapons and firearms to protect public safety.”

An NRA sticker on display outside of the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing, Mich., on Sept. 23, 2021. (Jeff Kowalsky/AFP via Getty Images)

Large capacity magazines “are not commonly used for self-defense, and are therefore not protected by the Second Amendment,” Immergut wrote. “The Second Amendment also allows governments to ensure that only law-abiding, responsible citizens keep and bear arms.”

In a 23-page section on the history and tradition of firearms regulations, Immergut said that at the time of the nation’s founding, “magazine” referred to ammunition depots.

Rather, she wrote the cartridge boxes that held individual rounds of ammunition were called “accoutrements” and were not considered arms.

Immergut said that magazines are necessary to operate many firearms but magazines holding more than 10 rounds “are never necessary to render firearms operable.”

Judge Immergut further ruled that Ballot Measure 114′s permitting system does not violate the Second Amendment and therefore does not deprive Oregonians of their liberty.

Under the permit-to-purchase requirement, Oregonians would have to undergo a background check, which the FBI has reportedly said it will not conduct, and take a class that does not yet exist, in order to obtain a permit to purchase a firearm.

Plaintiffs claim this creates “impassable barriers” to the purchase of a firearm.

Judge Immergut would not consider the provision, ruling the issue is “unripe.”

Since the permitting provisions have not yet been applied, no one can claim to have been damaged by them.

Plaintiffs could bring a case about how the law infringed on constitutional rights only if the law goes into effect and harm can be proven.

Immergut’s decision follows a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Bruen last year, in which the majority decided that no one should need special permission to exercise their Second Amendment right to carry firearms outside their home.

The Case to Continue

Supporters of Measure 114 were pleased with the ruling and continue to argue that the measure will help reduce the number of guns in Oregon and encourage responsible gun safety and storage.

“Measure 114’s provisions—passed by Oregon voters—are common sense safety measures that will save lives,” wrote Oregon Attorney General Ellen F. Rosenblum in a press release following the ruling.

“Our team looks forward to ultimately prevailing in the state courts.”

Jess Marks, executive director of the Oregon Alliance for Gun Safety, which joined the state in defending the ballot measure, also issued a statement on July 14.

“We know Measure 114 is an effective and life-saving policy, and now a federal judge has ruled it is also in line with the U.S. Constitution,” wrote Marks.

“The Supreme Court has articulated that Second Amendment rights are not unchecked—they come with responsibilities—and the U.S. District Court affirmed this in our case.”

Opponents of the measure were disappointed.

“These are our rights, endowed by our creator and they belong to us and it’s not something for the government to give or take away as a privilege any time they see fit,” the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s Mark Oliva wrote.

“While not entirely unexpected, Immergut’s ruling is simple nonsense and sure to be overturned at the 9th circuit,” Kevin Starrett of the Oregon Firearms Federation, a plaintiff in the federal case, wrote to supporters on July 14.

The ruling is likely to be appealed and widely expected to end up before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, the measure will remain on hold pending the outcome of the Harney County case, in which Gun Owners of America Inc., the Gun Owners Foundation, and several individual gun owners are challenging Ballot Measure 114 under the state constitution rather than the U.S. Constitution.

That case will be heard in September.

Updated with news of the notice of appeal by gun rights groups.

Source link

Articles You May Like

Second Amendment sanctuary counties taking root in rural SC and growing | Palmetto Politics
Gov. Newsom signs law raising taxes on guns and ammunition to pay for school safety
Keep Focus On Guns, Gun Violence And Crimes Using Guns
New York’s concealed carry laws face challenges by state an federal courts
Biden to set up new gun violence office at White House

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *