Ore-GUN: Firearm sales stay strong after court rulings, 36K background checks delayed

Ore-GUN: Firearm sales stay strong after court rulings, 36K background checks delayed
(AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

While Measure 114’s permit-to-purchase scheme and ban on “large capacity” magazines may be on hold thanks to the actions of a Harney County circuit court judge, that doesn’t mean it’s a quick or easy process to buy a gun in the state at the moment.

Measure 114’s impact was felt the day after Election Day, as it became more and more likely that the anti-gun ballot initiative was going to pass. Lots of folks headed out to their local gun store to purchase a firearm or soon-to-be-banned magazine as an act of defiance, protest, or simple pragmatism. As the days went on, sales continued to increase, and in late November the Oregon State Police reported first a 400% and then a 500% increase in the number of background check requests for firearm transfers that it was receiving.

I’d wondered if gun sales might not drop back to something approaching “normal” once Judge Robert S. Raschio granted a temporary injunction blocking all aspects of Measure 114 from being enforced for the time being, but it looks like the answer to that is loud and resounding “hell no.”

“Everyone is basically trying to figure out what’s going on,” said Austin Cock, a manager at Tick Licker Firearms LLC, which has stores in Salem and Corvallis, Ore.

Mr. Cock, the gun-store manager, disagrees with the new law, saying that permits to purchase guns are unnecessary since everyone must undergo a background check to buy firearms.

Meanwhile, customers who are worried the new law will make purchasing guns much more difficult are rushing in to buy them, he said.

“We’ve had lines out the door for several weeks,” said Mr. Cock.

According to Fox News, the number of background checks waiting for action by the Oregon State Police has now grown to more than 36,000, which means that many would-be gun buyers are going to be dealing with a waiting period imposed not by state law, but by bureaucracy with an assist from anti-gun lawmakers and politicians like outgoing Gov. Kate Brown, who should have anticipated that passage of Measure 114 was going to lead to a surge in gun sales and would require more staffing of the OSP division that conducts background checks in order to keep up with the rising demand.

Then again, I doubt that Brown isn’t sleeping well because law-abiding Oregonians are being denied their Second Amendment rights because of these delayed background check requests. The whole point of Measure 114 is to make it harder to own a firearm, after all, so if tens of thousands of Oregon residents are having their rights placed on hold because of a shortage of workers to handle background check requests, that’s liable to be a win for the governor and her anti-gun allies.

Given the court losses Measure 114 has already received, I’m sure the anti-gunners in Oregon will take those wins where they can get them. There is one small problem they should consider before they start celebrating the delays in processing background checks, however. As we reported just a couple of days ago, some gun stores in the state are proceeding with those sales if the checks haven’t been processed within 72 hours. A gun control measure that was meant to closely scrutinize every gun buyer in the state has ironically led not only to far more guns being sold than usual, but an unknown number of them being sold without a completed background check at all.