PORTLAND, Ore. — Oregon’s attorney general has asked the state Supreme Court to overturn a lower court judge’s decision and allow a tough new voter-approved gun law to take effect this week.
Several lawsuits have challenged Measure 114, which voters narrowly approved last month and was set to take effect Thursday. The law requires permits, criminal background checks, fingerprinting and hands-on training courses for new gun buyers.
A federal judge in Portland ruled on Tuesday morning that Measure 114 could go forward, including the ban on high-capacity magazines. She said a Permit-to-Purchase component would be put on hold for 30 days.
But Harney County Judge Robert Raschio blocked it hours later.
Raschio says Measure 114 could target those who have already purchased these kinds of magazines legally.
“With implementation, there are serious harms to the public interest as well, which could include individuals being arrested and prosecuted for Class A misdemeanors under what could be found to be an unconstitutional statutory scheme,” Judge Raschio said in his ruling.
The Oregon Department of Justice argues in an urgent filing Wednesday that Raschio got it wrong. Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum says in a statement that the federal and state constitutions allow such reasonable regulations.
“We strongly disagree with the decision of the Harney County Circuit Court,” Rosenblum wrote. “Our mandamus petition to the Oregon Supreme Court gives our highest state court the opportunity to weigh in now and reverse the Harney County judge’s ruling. Magazine capacity restrictions and permitting requirements have a proven track record: they save lives! We are confident the Oregon Constitution—like the Second Amendment of the U.S. constitution—allows these reasonable regulations.”
If the Oregon Supreme Court deems this case warrants its intervention, it could order Raschio to either throw out his restraining order or explain why he shouldn’t.
As a Willamette constitutional law professor told Central Oregon Daily News last week, and a Redmond gun manufacturer reiterated on Tuesday, Measure 114 could be caught up in the courts for months or even years.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.