Oregon AG requests two month delay for new "permit-to-purchase" scheme

Oregon AG requests two month delay for new "permit-to-purchase" scheme
AP Photo/Keith Srakocic

For several weeks now, opponents of Oregon’s Measure 114 have been warning of a complete halt to gun sales starting on December 8th, when the measure’s “permit-to-purchase” a firearm is set to take effect without the permitting system actually being in place. Supporters of the gun control measure have portrayed the critics as fearmongers, insisting that the permit would be ready to go on the 8th despite the fact that neither the training requirements or even the permits themselves have been written and published. As late as last Friday, the state of Oregon told a federal judge that Measure 114 shouldn’t be put on hold by the courts but allowed to be enforced starting this Thursday, but on Sunday night the state’s Attorney General made an amazing and stunning announcement: the state is “willing” to put the permit requirement for gun purchases on hold for two months in order to give law enforcement time to set up the permitting system.

In a letter to U.S. District Judge Karin Immergut, who is hearing the lawsuits seeking to block 114 from becoming law, Attorney General Rosenblum said that the state will seek a postponement of the permit requirement to give law enforcement officers more time to implement the new law.

“Postponing the permit requirement by approximately two months should give Oregon law enforcement time to have a fully functional permitting system in place. If Judge Immergut agrees to the postponement, then starting in February anyone who purchases a gun in Oregon will be required to have a permit,” Rosenblum said.

So now the state admits that the permitting system isn’t ready for prime time, but that means they’ve got another problem on their hands. The state is apparently powerless to stop enforcement of any of Measure 114’s on its own, so now the state is actually asking the courts to step in and halt enforcement for them. From the letter that the AG’s office sent to the judge:

The hearing last Friday addressed the first two types of challenge, the first in more depth than the second. But because neither Oregon Firearms nor Fitz raised any claims based on whether Measure 114 could be implemented on December 8, the third type of challenge was not addressed. Plaintiffs in Eyre and Azzopardi, however, have moved for provisional relief based on anticipated implementation difficulties. The State’s response to those motions is due by 9:00 p.m. Tuesday, December 6.

In its response, the State Defendants will agree that implementation challenges require postponing implementation of one aspect of Measure 114. Specifically, the State agrees that the Court should enter an order providing a limited window in which Oregonians will be able to purchase firearms even if they do not have a permit, while also allowing Oregonians to apply for and be issued permits. We intend to reach out to Plaintiffs in Eyre and Azzopardi within the next day to discuss a proposed stipulation that allows this window.

That’s right. Backers of Measure 114 are now requesting the court step in and halt enforcement of their own gun control law, at least temporarily; allowing them to save face and giving them more time to hash out the particulars of their ill-conceived permitting scheme.

Supporters of Measure 114 have been lying about its impact from the get-go; portraying the measure as a valuable crime-fighting tool that would have zero impact on the ability of peaceable Oregonians to exercise their right to keep and bear arms. Only days before the effective date of Measure 114 are any backers now willing to acknowledge the reality that Measure 114 could obliterate the ability to lawfully acquire a firearm. And as the Oregon Firearms Federation (one of the parties suing the state over the unconstitutionality of the measure’s language) pointed out in an alert to members, even this latest legal move appears to be more of a head fake than anything else given that the AG’s filing maintains the state should still be able to enforce its new magazine ban and even require potential gun owners to apply for a permit they can’t yet receive.

While this was a tacit admission that her chief lawyer (who assured the Judge on Friday that the permit system would be operational by Dec 8th) was, at very best, transparently and comically deceitful, it does little to address the problem.

It is becoming abundantly clear to all that Measure 114 is little more than an overturned outhouse dumped in the laps of law enforcement by the bigots at “Lift Every Voice.”

However this request by the criminal protection syndicate that controls Oregon is not even a bandaid on the massive hemorrhaging the state is promoting.

The Attorney General is still demanding that all other elements of this dumpster fire go into effect on the 8th of December

As OFF’s lawyer Leonard Williamson has pointed out:

“The AG is mistaken in that Plaintiffs challenging the magazine ban are not affected by their request to postpone implementation of the permit to purchase system.  Presently OSP has 34,790 people waiting on the background check list waiting for a firearm, that they have already paid for, to clear the system.  Some % of those sales are firearms that included as part of the sale standard capacity magazines (large capacity) e.g., the Glock 19 comes with three 15 round mags).  Meaning if the ban on magazines takes effect on 12/8/22, and the permit system is suspended, the gun shop owners can not allow the customer to leave with their standard capacity magazines i.e., an unlawful government taking of property without due process.  Second, what the government is saying is that gun dealers may only sell guns with magazines that only hold ten rounds.  That is a very small group of firearms.”

It is absurd to assume gun dealers are going to remove the standard magazines that come with most modern firearms and dispose of them and hand their customers worthless firearms with no magazines.

Judge Immergut, who was appointed to the federal judiciary by Donald Trump in 2019, could issue her decision on whether to grant an injunction blocking enforcement of some or all of Measure 114’s provisions as early as today, though no matter which way her ruling goes the losing side will undoubtably appeal to the Ninth Circuit; an appellate court that has yet to declare any gun control law its considered since the Heller decision in 2008 to be a violation of the Second Amendment.

They might, however, be willing to throw the state of Oregon a bone since its the defendants of Measure 114 that are now calling for a “pause” before beginning enforcement of the permit-to-purchase mandate. I’ll admit that there’s a part of me that would like to see the federal judiciary reject Oregon’s request so that Measure 114 can be implemented and all of its chaotic and unconstitutional infringements will be readily apparent to both opponents and supporters alike, but it’s not worth the violations of the rights of Oregonian residents, especially since many supporters aren’t going to change their mind no matter how much of a cluster**** enforcement of the gun control measure becomes.

Instead of going along with Oregon’s request, however, Judge Immergut could simply declare that Measure 114, as written, is likely to violate the Second Amendment rights of residents and put a halt to enforcement of the entirety of the ballot measure while it’s being litigated in court. The state could still work out the details of its permit-to-purchase mandate on the off chance the new permit is upheld, but the Second Amendment rights of Oregonians to keep and bear arms (including “large capacity” magazines) would be left intact in the interim.