The Oregon circuit court judge presiding over the recent week-long trial in the challenge of Measure 114 will issue an opinion letter no later than Nov. 22, according to a report from KDRV News in Medford.
Harney County Circuit Judge Robert Raschio heard testimony from the state and plaintiffs challenging the constitutionality of the far-reaching measure, passed narrowly by voters in November 2022. Plaintiffs in the case are Gun Owners of America, Gun Owners Foundation and two private citizens, Joseph Arnold and Cliff Asmussen. Named as defendants are Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, Gov. Tina Kotek and State Police Administrator Casey Codding.
This state-level case has been the only thing preventing the state from enforcing provisions of Measure 114. Federal lawsuits challenging the measure are now on appeal to the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court in San Francisco after U.S. District Judge Karin Immergut ruled in July that the restrictive measure was constitutional.
Measure 114 is loaded with restrictions on Beaver State gun owners, including a ban on the sale and manufacture of cartridge magazines capable of holding more than ten rounds, and a requirement that Oregon citizens first obtain a permit to purchase from the police, which would be good for five years. Gun buyers would also need to pass a gun safety course and a background check.
Gun prohibition lobbying groups have defended the gun control measure as “common sense,” while Second Amendment advocates contend it violates both the U.S. and Oregon state constitutions. As for Judge Immergut’s July ruling, that may not stand up to review by an appeals court panel. Gun rights activists argue the measure turns the right to keep and bear arms into a government-regulated privilege.
According to KDRV, Judge Raschio has ruled the record “closed” on the five day trial in Burns. The judge ruled against a state motion to allow “offers of proof” from four witnesses because they “had not been sworn and for whom a scientific foundation for their expertise had not been laid for the Court and subject to objections and cross-examination by Plaintiffs,” KDRV reported.
If Measure 114 becomes law, it will make Oregon one of the strictest states in the country for gun ownership. More importantly, it will set an example for the gun prohibition lobby to follow in other states where citizen initiatives are allowed, thus launching legal battles that could go on for years. Ultimately, the Supreme Court may have to take a case challenging the training and purchase permit requirements established by Measure 114, or by legislation adopted in neighboring Washington State with a similar proof-of-training requirement.