BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) – Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel joined a group of current and former law enforcement and prosecutors Tuesday in voicing his support for Measure 114, which would require a background check and safety training to purchase firearms as well as limit the sale of magazines with more than 10 rounds of ammunition.
He spoke in a virtual media briefing arranged by the Yes on 114 campaign, along with Wasco County DA Matt Ellis, retired Marion County DA Chris Van Dyke and retired Hillsboro and Astoria police chief Ron Louie.
Hummel said, “62% more deaths occur at mass shootings with high-capacity magazines. That shouldn’t surprise anyone, that the data shows us that, because we see that when these mass shootings are thwarted kind of mid-stream, it’s usually because it’s some intervening events, oftentimes when the shooter has to reload. And so the more often they have to reload, that’s a chance that someone can jump in and intervene.
“We also know that when Connecticut enacted their permit to purchase law, gun suicide rates dropped by 33% and gun homicide rates dropped by 28%,” he said.
Attorney Shawn Kollie, who represented the opposing side on NewsChannel 21’s debate on the measure, pointed out to NewsChannel 21 Tuesday that the Oregon Voters Pamphlet includes arguments in opposition to the measure by the Oregon State Sheriffs Association, and said the Tillamook and Sherman county sheriff’s also are “adamantly opposed.”
“They will not have the resources nor the finances to comply with the licensure system,” Kollie said. “They again underscore and emphasize that this is not a background check bill. This does not change anything with background checks at all. It is the exact same background check. It just adds an additional license to the background check.”
Hummel disputed the sheriffs’ claims that the proposal is unconstitutional but added, “Ultimately, the U.S. Supreme Court will tell us” if it is or not.
The DA noted there were nearly 600 gun deaths in Oregon in 2020 and said, “That’s unacceptable to me. … When what we have doesn’t work, we have to do something different.”
Hummel said some friends argue that you can’t look at one measure standing alone, but that if voters “’pass this one, what’s next?’ That’s not how I operate. I look at each one individually.”
“This is not restricting you from owning a gun to protect your family. This is saying we want safe, law-abiding people who know how to safely operate that weapon. We don’t want weapons of war with those high-capacity magazines on the streets,” saying those should be limited to “police and the military.”
Louie cited an estimate of $19.5 million in costs for local governments to provide the required permit and training system, saying that he’s confident in the “creativity of Oregonians to make a buck, it’ll happen.”
Asked about whether the measure would have stopped the Bend Safeway shooter, Hummel acknowledged it would not have prevented him from obtaining the guns he used.
“No one is saying Measure 114 would prevent every death by gun in Oregon,” the DA said. But he added that the “biggest number” is death by suicide, and it “absolutely will lower the number of those by suicide.”
“Every suicide is different,” he said. “We know many act quickly. … “There are people that have not had this pause and they are not with us today to tell us what a pause would have meant to them. So, if nothing else, the pause that Measure 114 requires will save lives.“
Hummel also explained why closing the background check loophole, known as the “Charleston Loophole” was such an important feature of Measure 114: “97% of background checks in Oregon were completed instantly. Of the remaining 3% that require additional review, over half are completed within 10 days. Any background check that takes longer than 3 days, you are 4 times more likely to find a reason for denying that.”
“The proponents of 114 believe that it is okay to take a little longer on 1% of the background checks, because those are the ones most likely to involve the people that shouldn’t own a gun. The opponents of 114 say ‘Don’t take time on those,’” the DA continued.
“I’m comfortable being on the ‘YES’ side,” Hummel said.
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