U.S. federal judge upholds Oregon Ballot Measure 114 gun permit requirement, magazine regulations

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Thursday, July 20, 2023

Immergut during a US Senate confirmation hearing in 2018.
Image: U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee.

On Friday, U.S. District Court Judge Karin Immergut upheld the constitutionality of Oregon Ballot Measure 114 against four consolidated lawsuits. The measure banned the possession, use, production, or transfer of large capacity magazines (LCMs) holding more than ten rounds of ammunition, with exceptions, and required prospective gun owners to get a permit.

Among the plaintiffs were special interest groups, gun sellers and owners, county sheriffs, and a security professional.

Immergut's ruling did not affect Harney County Circuit Court Judge Robert Raschio's order on December 6 preventing Measure 114 from coming into force, a trial for which was scheduled for September.

Immergut determined the "permit-to-purchase framework", with a background check, safety training, and evaluation of the applicant's mental health as prerequisites, "is consistent with the type of regulations that the United States Supreme Court has deemed constitutional under the Second Amendment [to the Constitution of the United States]."

She also determined the regulation of LCMs, as they had "uniquely dangerous propensities", was "consistent with this Nation's history and tradition of regulating uniquely dangerous features of weapons and firearms to protect public safety."

The judge noted Mark Hanish, former Vice President of Marketing and Sales for manufacturer Surefire, told the court it sells the same LCMs to the US Department of Defense and the nation's civilians; she concluded LCMs "even in civilian hands, are closely related to weapons used in warfare."

During the seven-day trial, lawyers for the plaintiffs argued magazines were necessary to firearms' operation and were therefore arms under the Second Amendment's protection. Immergut ruled "while magazines may often be necessary to render a firearm operable, LCMs are not."

A statement from Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum celebrated Immergut's decision: "Our team looks forward to ultimately prevailing in the state courts as well [...] Measure 114's provisions – passed by Oregon voters – are common sense safety measures that will save lives."

The Oregon Firearms Federation told Oregon Public Broadcasting Immergut's ruling is "simple nonsense and sure to be overturned at the 9th circuit."

50.65% of Oregon voters passed Measure 114 into state law on November 8, 2022.