Group files emergency motion to stop Oregon’s gun control Measure 114
Those bringing the challenge say it hampers law-abiding gun owners from using common gun magazines for their own self-defense
By Maxine Bernstein
PORTLAND, Ore. — The Oregon Firearms Federation, along with the Sherman County sheriff and a Keizer gun store owner, late Wednesday night filed an emergency motion seeking to bar Oregon’s gun control Measure 114 from taking effect Dec. 8.
On Thursday morning, U.S. District Judge Karin J. Immergut scheduled a hearing on the motion for Dec. 2, six days before the measure is scheduled to take effect.
The firearm federation’s motion for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction follows less than a week after the three plaintiffs filed their initial lawsuit in federal court, arguing the measure is unconstitutional.
They contend the measure, which bans the sale, transfer or purchase of magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds and requiring a permit to purchase a gun, violates the Second Amendment right to bear arms.
“Its draconian terms turn the Second Amendment on its head by stating that, instead of adults presumptively having a constitutional right to keep and bear arms, they do not have that right unless they can affirmatively prove to the government that they are ‘good enough’ to have a gun,” Attorney John Kaempf wrote in the motion.
Oregon voters narrowly approved the measure following a grassroots campaign by the interfaith group Lift Every Voice Oregon.
The proponents argue that the ban on large-capacity magazines will help reduce mass shootings and save lives as shooters would have to pause to reload before firing dozens of shots.
Measure 114′s permit-to-purchase gun program, its proponents argue, also will help prevent suicides because people may be thwarted from immediately getting their hands on a gun to take their own life.
Those bringing the court challenge wrote in their emergency motion that the measure should be renamed the “Gun Magazine Confiscation and Gun Registry Act,” saying it won’t reduce crime but will hamper law-abiding gun owners from using common gun magazines for their own self-defense. They contend magazines that hold more than 10 rounds have existed before the American Revolution and have been commonly possessed since 1862.
Kevin Starrett, president of the firearms federation, Sherman County Sheriff Brad Lohrey and Adam Johnson, owner of Coat of Arms Custom Firearms store, each submitted very similar signed declarations in support.
They each argue that law-abiding gun owners will be at a disadvantage if they can’t use a magazine that holds more than 10 rounds to defend themselves in a sudden, unexpected crime because the gun owners likely won’t have more than a single gun within their reach.
“The presence of multiple attackers may require far more defensive discharges to eliminate the threat. The stress of a criminal attack greatly reduces the likelihood that shots fired will hit an attacker, and bullet-hits do not necessarily incapacitate a criminal before he can complete his attack,” Starrett’s declaration said.
The suit was filed against Gov. Kate Brown and Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum in U.S. District Court in Pendleton but was moved by the court to Portland and assigned to Immergut.
Rosenblum’s senior assistant attorney general, Brian Simmonds Marshall, has filed a notice he will represent the governor and attorney general but hasn’t yet filed an answer in response. The attorney general’s office has said it will defend the measure and assist agencies, such as state police, in putting the gun control changes into place.
Meanwhile, the firearms federation predicts the court challenge will be the “single most expensive battle in the history” of its organization and sent an email to supporters urging donations for its legal bills.
State police have released few details on how the new permit-to-purchase gun program will work or provided much guidance to gun owners on the steps they should take should they already own a higher-capacity magazine.
Under Measure 114, licensed dealers who already own larger-capacity magazines have 180 days from the day the measure takes effect to sell them to an out-of-state gun dealer or other person out of state or to destroy them. After the 180 days, gun dealers can sell or transfer only newly manufactured high-capacity magazines marked with a special stamp denoting they’re for military or law enforcement use – two exceptions under the law.
People who already own the magazines can keep them in a private home or on private property, use them at a shooting range or in a shooting competition, or for recreational purposes such as hunting as allowed by state law. A violation would be a class A misdemeanor.
To prove a gun owner had possession of higher-capacity magazines prior to Measure 114 going into effect , the owner could take a photo with a timestamp of the magazines, state police Capt. Stephanie Bigman suggested. But the state police, she said, is still seeking further guidance from the agency’s legal counsel.