Federal ruling holding Oregon’s new gun measure constitutional has been appealed

By Lillian Mongeau Hughes (OPB)
July 17, 2023 8:49 p.m.

A federal judge ruled Friday that Oregon’s voter-approved tighter gun laws requiring a permit to purchase a firearm and limits on magazine size are constitutional. On Monday, her ruling was appealed by the two gun store owners and two gun rights advocacy groups that brought the case.

The appeal is unsurprising and sends the case on to the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. That court may send the case back to Oregon U.S. District Court for additional proceedings. Alternatively, the Ninth Circuit will make a decision that could be sent to the U.S. Supreme Court for review. The Supreme Court justices may or may not decide to grant review.

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Voters passed the new gun laws by a slim majority – just 50.6% said yes. The laws were immediately challenged in federal and state court.

Friday’s ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Karin Immergut holds that it is within the state’s rights under the U.S. Constitution to regulate how many rounds a magazine can carry.

She wrote that though magazines are often required to operate firearms, those containing 11 or more rounds are not necessary to make a gun work. She also ruled that the permit-to-purchase system outlined in Measure 114, the ballot measure approved by voters in November, is in keeping with the state’s right to regulate who is allowed to own a firearm and is not unconstitutionally vague.

A state judge in Harney County approved a request for an injunction blocking the law from going into effect. That block holds, despite the federal ruling. The state case is expected to go to trial in September.

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