Oregon gun advocates lost at the polls but won in court

Albany, Oregon, U.S.A. – A voter-approved measure to limit the size of magazines that could be sold in the state – and implement other gun control laws – has been permanently discarded and will not become law.

Oregon voters narrowly approved the proposed legislation, known as Measure 114, in November 2022.

But opponents never stopped fighting and in the end, won a court injunction prohibiting the measure from moving forward.

A year after voters approved it, a judge struck it down.

According to reporting by the Statesman Journal, an Oregon newspaper, Harney County Circuit Court Judge Robert Raschio ruled Measure 114 unconstitutional in November.

The same judge presided over a January hearing designed to allow further argument, but the judge upheld the initial decision and issued a permanent injunction against implementing the measure, according to ABC affiliate KDRV, based in Medford, Oregon.

The purpose of this bill was to ban Oregon from all distribution of magazines containing more than 10 rounds. People who wanted to own a gun would also have to take a safety training course and obtain a license.

Among the opponents to Measure 114 was the Oregon Firearms Federation.

“Measure 114 will end lawful gun sales in Oregon,” the organization wrote in an email to Youth Journalism International in October, responding to a request for an interview. The writer of the email, who did not identify themselves, said the measure, if it became law, would make many Oregonian gun owners into criminals.

“We oppose all unconstitutional laws that attempt to strip people of their God-given rights,” the person wrote in the October 16 response.

A majority of the response to this measure was opposition, but data from 2020 released by the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Solutions showed an average of nearly two people a day dying from gun violence in the state.

Of those 592 deaths, 39 were children and teenagers.

According to the Johns Hopkins data, 69% of homicides in Oregon were by a firearm and 55% of those who died by suicide used a gun.

There is a financial price to pay, too, the Johns Hopkins data shows. The Center for Gun Violence Solutions said that gun violence “costs Oregonians more than $5.8 billion per year,” or $1,379 per person.

Penny Okamoto, executive director of Ceasefire Oregon, said her organization helped write Measure 114.

In a June telephone interview with Youth Journalism International, Okamoto said her group supported it “because it’s going to save lives from gun violence.”

McKenzie Andersen is a Reporter with Youth Journalism International.

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