ELMER DICKENS, OSSA COUNSEL
In November 2022, Oregon voters passed Measure 114 (the Reduction of Gun Violence Act) by a narrow margin. The proponents of this measure, Lift Every Voice, believed that this measure would make our communities safer by reducing the availability of firearms and large-capacity magazines. Unfortunately, Lift Every Voice did not talk to the organizations which were charged with implementation of the measure: the Oregon State Police, local police, and sheriff’s offices. It appears Lift Every Voice misunderstood the practical effects of this poorly-drafted law.
Measure 114 requires that a person must obtain a purchase permit before buying a firearm. No permit system was in place prior to this measure passing; therefore, the system is being built from the ground up. Before even applying for a permit, a person must obtain very specific training that is currently unavailable and is still being developed. Several lawsuits have been filed to challenge this measure, and the measure has been put on hold by the courts largely due to the lack of available training and a permit system.
Those who cannot obtain a permit, such as a person with a disability who cannot demonstrate their ability to operate a firearm, or a person who cannot afford the required training and permit, will flatly be denied their right to buy a gun. Individuals who are impoverished, are disabled, and those from marginalized communities will likely be harmed and essentially be denied the right to purchase a firearm to defend themselves and their families. The disparate impact of this measure on these groups of people will likely result in further litigation.
One impact the drafters of this measure likely did not account for is that the measure has created the largest spike ever in Oregon gun sales as well as a spike in the sale of high-capacity magazines. The Oregon State Police has completed over 140,000 firearms purchase checks in the month since the measure was passed by voters, and the daily sales numbers are hitting record highs.
Bottom line, the Reduction of Gun Violence Act has single-handedly caused the number of guns and high-capacity magazines sold in Oregon to surge at a rate never before seen. I fully expect that this measure will eventually be found to violate the Second Amendment, and all this will have been for nothing. It is unfortunate that Lift Every Voice didn’t put their time and energy into something that could actually decrease violence in our communities, such as improved mental health services, resources for troubled youth, and funding for public safety.