The Oregon Supreme Court on Thursday rejected a petition from the state to put Measure 114 into effect.
“The petition for a writ of mandamus is denied without prejudice. The motion for stay is dismissed as moot without prejudice,” according to a press release from the court.
Measure 114 is the gun control law that was narrowly approved by voters statewide in November, but was rejected by a majority of Central Oregon voters. It hasn’t gone into effect because of legal challenges.
The measure requires a permit to buy a gun, a background check to be completed before a gun can be sold or transferred and restricts the sale, manufacture and use of magazines holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition. It passed with nearly 51% of the vote.
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Harney County Circuit Judge Robert S. Raschio halted the Measure 114 regulations, citing state constitutional law.
The case filed in Harney County Circuit Court was brought by Virginia-based Gun Owners of America, its legal defense fund Gun Owners Foundation and two gun owners.
Raschio found that the Gun Owners of America had shown that pausing Measure 114 will maintain the “status quo” until the court can determine whether the measure meets constitutional muster.
He ruled that the public interest weighed against the implementation of the measure, noting that individual liberty is a “cornerstone of our country.” He also ruled that magazines that hold more than 10 rounds are not distinct from “arms,” and are protected by the Oregon Constitution.
The AG’s office countered in court filings last month that Raschio made “fundamental legal” errors and acted beyond his discretion. Oregon Constitution protects only the right to bear arms commonly used by Oregonians for self-defense in 1859 and earlier, and doesn’t relate to magazines that hold more than 10 rounds, Koch wrote.
Further, they argued that the state constitution does not provide for “an unfettered right to possess or use constitutionally protected arms in any way they please.”
The court statement says, “The Court recognized that the legal status of Measure 114 is of significant concern to many Oregonians and that the judicial branch’s role is to resolve disputes such as challenges to laws enacted by the legislative branch, including the people exercising their initiative power. But, the Court continued, it had determined that ‘now [was] not an appropriate time to exercise [its] authority in mandamus in connection with the trial court’s temporary and preliminary rulings.’
“I am very disappointed that the Oregon Supreme Court denied our request to allow Measure 114, Oregon’s new gun safety law, to take effect now. We intend to continue to defend the law zealously in the Harney County court,” said Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenbaum in a tweet.
“My office takes the position the law passed by Oregonians last November is totally proper and legal under the U.S. and Oregon constitutions,” she continued.
OR Supreme Court Measure 114 ruling 2-9-23
The Associated Press contributed to this report.