[UPDATE 12/01/2022: The Second Amendment Foundation, along with The Firearms Policy Coalition, and several businesses and individuals, has filed suit in Federal Court against the magazine ban section of Ballot Measure 114, which is scheduled to go into effect on December 8. The suit calls for a declaratory judgment and injunctive relief to keep the ban from being enforced.
More information about the suit can be found in articles here on Ammoland.com, here and here.
The NSSF has now filed a suit as well.]
Tombstone, Arizona – -(Ammoland.com)- In the recent midterm elections, Oregonians passed “Measure 114,” an unconstitutional gun control initiative. The initiative, which was pushed by a coalition of the usual suspects, passed by a mere 0.5% of the vote, in spite of the supporters outspending opponents by almost 20 to 1.
The new (and hopefully short-lived) law will not only create a state registry of firearms and firearm owners but there is also no provision for the owner registry to be private. In fact gun owners’ names and addresses, including those of crime victims trying to hide from stalkers, will be public documents. Once the law kicks in, prospective firearm purchasers must acquire a New Jersey-style “permit-to-purchase” permission slip from the state in order to be eligible to receive any firearm. The permit is granted only after mandatory training, submission of fingerprints and a photo, passing a background check that goes beyond the NICS check, including checks against state criminal and mental health databases, and payment of a fee – supposedly not to exceed $50, not counting the cost of training and other necessary requirements. The permit will be required for any firearm transfer, whether from a licensed dealer or a private individual and including loans and gifts – with a few narrow exceptions.
The measure also institutes a ban on the manufacture, importation, sale, or possession of any magazine capable of holding over 10 rounds of ammunition. It further restricts any magazine which can be “readily modified” to accept more than 10 rounds, and grandfathers higher capacity magazines that Oregonians already possess, but it fails to provide any guidance on how an owner of an otherwise prohibited magazine might prove that it was owned by them prior to the enactment of the new law, and those magazines are restricted to only the owner’s residence, a gunsmith shop, recognized range, a qualifying training or competition event, or possibly hunting fields if permitted by law, and they must be transported in a locked box separate from the gun. They may only be transferred within the state to the owner’s heirs upon death.
The law actually says “registered owner,” but there isn’t a registration system for magazines – yet.
As you would expect, firearm purchases began accelerating in anticipation of this law possibly passing, and once it did pass, sales went through the roof. Tens of thousands of Oregonians rushed to local gun stores to acquire guns prior to the law going into effect, only to be met with backlogs and interminable delays in the state’s background check system.
The news just got worse from there, as the Oregon Secretary of State decided that the law would go into effect 30 days after Election Day, rather than 30 days after the election is officially certified. That narrowed the window significantly, and it was already too short to allow the State Police to build, test, and implement a registration and permitting system. The deadline now is December 8th 2022.
As a “Point of Contact” state, firearm background checks in Oregon are handled through their State Police, not directly through the FBI’s NICS system, and the current backlog stands at almost 30,000 as of this writing, going higher every day. Once the December 8 deadline hits, no firearm can be transferred in the state unless the recipient has a license to purchase. There’s no telling how long it will take the State Police to get a workable system up and running. It could take months, possibly more than a year, and until that system is in place and working, firearm sales in the state will be completely shut down. People who have already purchased guns, but are awaiting clearance through the State Police background check system, will be in limbo. If they don’t receive a “Proceed” order from the State Police before the 8th, they won’t be able to receive their guns until the license-to-purchase scheme is available, and they get processed through it.
Many will undoubtedly cancel their orders and demand refunds. Gun stores will be hit very hard financially regardless of how this all plays out.
We all know that federal law says that dealers can go ahead and transfer guns after three business days if the background check hasn’t been resolved. This was a negotiated provision in the federal NICS law, specifically intended to prevent bureaucratic delays from foreclosing gun rights. But Oregon has a glitch for that too. Oregon state law says the 3-day rule kicks in once the dealer receives a “Delayed” notice. It also says that the State Police have only 30 minutes to either provide a determination or an estimate of when they think a determination will be available. But the State Police – in violation of state law – have been ignoring that mandate, often providing no information at all for weeks. Their failure to issue an official “Delayed” order, puts all clocks on hold until further notice.
Some FFLs have declared that they are going to follow federal law, and proceed with transfers after three business days from the date of filing the background check request, while others are fearful of legal or civil liability. The big, national chain, sporting goods stores have long had policies against using the 3-day rule, and they are in the best position to be able to handle the financial pain of waiting for the State Police to get their act together.
Those big stores are also the ones best positioned financially to stand up and file legal challenges to the arbitrary and capricious standards of this crazy state, but most observers believe that would be something like a miracle. Meanwhile, Mom-and-Pop gun stores are facing financial and legal Armageddon. They fear legal and/or civil repercussions if they apply the 3-day rule, and they are at serious risk of being stuck with their current, most likely leveraged, inventory – including the guns that are awaiting background checks – for months, with no way to make money except through sale of ammo and accessories, while they wait for the State Police to build their licensing and registration system.
It does seem that the state has been abandoned by national gun rights groups.
Supporters of the measure[gun banners] officially spent $2,300,995 compared to just $130,776 spent by opponents. That massive funding difference was the key factor in the campaign and was made possible by huge donations from billionaires, unions, and various special interest groups. Connie Ballmer, the wife of former Microsoft CEO and current owner of the Los Angeles Clippers NBA team, Steve Ballmer, was the largest single contributor, with a donation of $750,000. Next in line, with a contribution of $500,000, was the National Education Association, followed by billionaire Nicolas Hanauer and the leftist dark money machine the 1630 Fund, both contributing $250,000. Add to those contributions, the in-kind contributions represented by the biased, anti-rights, legacy media coverage.
On the other side of the fight, the Oregon Firearms Federation PAC was the top donor to the opposition campaign, with a contribution of $31,000. The next highest contributions came from two individuals who contributed $2,500 each. As far as I can find, no national rights organization or foundation contributed to the effort at all.
Battling this ballot measure with so little, against adversaries with so much, left rights defenders at an astounding disadvantage. The razor-thin margin that resulted is a testament to the dedication and efficiency of the Oregon Firearms Federation and local volunteers. The lack of any significant support from any of the major national pro-gun organizations is a huge disappointment. Oregon gun owners I’ve spoken with consider it an utter betrayal.
Of course, the initiative is being challenged in court, but again, it appears to be the Oregon Firearms Federation standing alone. [See update at top of article] I find no record of any other major group either joining the OFF’s effort or filing litigation of their own. Meanwhile, the National Rifle Association continues to spend some $3 million per month on legal fees, just to protect Wayne LaPierre. Betrayal indeed.
Perhaps the NRA just can’t spare the cash, what with all of their other problems, but where is the National Shooting Sports Foundation, Gun Owners of America, the Firearms Policy Coalition, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, the American Firearms Association, and the various justice foundations? If any of them have stepped up to help, I haven’t heard about it. If I’m wrong about any of this, please let me know and I’ll correct this story, but really, all of them should be making noise and spending money on this situation.
The initial hearing in the OFF’s case is scheduled for December 2nd, 2022, just a week prior to the new law kicking in. Hopefully, they can get a stay of some sort to put a temporary stop to the nonsense and provide some breathing room for Oregon gun owners and dealers, but courts are always a crap shoot.
If you’d like to help, make checks payable to OFF’s sister group, which is funding the lawsuit:
The Oregon Firearms Education Foundation
PO Box 556
Canby, OR 97013
Please share this article on your social media and in forums and email groups. This unconstitutional garbage needs to be stopped in its tracks. Oregonians face the loss of Second Amendment rights. Meanwhile, dealers, especially small shops, face financial destruction. If Measure 114 sticks, there’s a good chance that similar initiatives could be heading to your state, so don’t turn your back on this one.
About Jeff Knox:
Jeff Knox is a second-generation political activist and director of The Firearms Coalition. His father Neal Knox led many of the early gun rights battles for your right to keep and bear arms. Read Neal Knox – The Gun Rights War.
The Firearms Coalition is a loose-knit coalition of individual Second Amendment activists, clubs and civil rights organizations. Founded by Neal Knox in 1984, the organization provides support to grassroots activists in the form of education, analysis of current issues, and with a historical perspective of the gun rights movement. The Firearms Coalition has offices in Buckeye, Arizona, and Manassas, VA. Visit: www.FirearmsCoalition.org.