Activists behind Measure 114 melt down after judge grants injunction blocking enforcement

Activists behind Measure 114 melt down after judge grants injunction blocking enforcement
AP Photo/Andrew Selsky, File

The anti-gunners with Lift Every Voice Oregon are freaking out and melting down once again after Harney County Circuit Judge Robert S. Raschio delivered another stinging defeat to the gun control group behind Measure 114 on Thursday by granting an injunction blocking the measure’s magazine ban from being enforced while the new law is being challenged in court. Raschio’s decision also keeps on hold the state’s “permit-to-purchase” process, at least for now, which is great news for those who respect the right to keep and bear arms but bad news for those who want to criminalize it out of existence.

On Facebook, LEVO lashed out at Raschio, accusing him of believing that “death and injury are an acceptable price just to sell gun magazines” and accusing him of thwarting the will of voters by not allowing the magazine ban to take effect.

In his ruling, Judge Raschio acknowledged that people are fatally shot in mass shootings and when shooters use high-capacity magazines. In his ruling, the judge stated, “there is less than a 1 in 1,000,000 chance of a person being a fatality in a mass shooting in Oregon, and even less with an offender who is using large capacity magazines.” In fact, since 2014, twenty-seven Oregonians have been fatally shot and 94 have been injured in mass shootings in Oregon. (Gun Violence Archive)
Oregon is home to 4,270,000 people. Judge Raschio expects four Oregonians will be sacrificed to the gun industry’s profits yearly. Judge Raschio seems to agree that death and injury are an acceptable price just to sell gun magazines. We do not.
In 2020, when then Judge-elect Raschio was elected to the circuit court, he did not say that he will make rulings that will be fair or honest or lessen the deadly realities Oregonians face. Instead, Raschio was focused on his voters. Raschio said, “ I’m going to work to earn their vote everyday.”
Judge, some decisions are about lives, not votes.
Raschio hasn’t responded to LEVO’s Facebook post, nor should he, but in his ruling on Thursday the judge did push back against the claims of anti-gun advocates that banning magazines that can hold more than ten rounds will automatically save lives without treading on the rights of Oregon residents.
“That the large capacity magazine bans promote public safety is mere speculation,” Raschio wrote in his order. “The court cannot sustain a restraint on a constitutional right on mere speculation that the restriction could promote public safety.”
Under the guidance laid out by the Supreme Court in Bruen, judges aren’t supposed to engage in any interest-balancing tests at all when it comes to determining the constitutionality of a particular gun control provision. Oregon’s interest in public safety is acknowledged and understood, but it’s also completely irrelevant when it comes to the legality of Measure 114 and its individual components. A public safety interest isn’t carte blanche to trample on anyone’s civil rights, and what matters in this particular case is whether Oregon’s newest gun control laws fit with the text, history, and tradition of the right to keep and bear arms in the state; particularly at the time the state’s constitution was ratified in 1859. According to Raschio, that’s not likely the case when it comes to the mag ban.

Expert witnesses for the plaintiffs and the state gave conflicting opinions about whether “multi-shot” firearms were commercially available and widely known during that era.

Raschio wrote that the plaintiffs had proven to his satisfaction that such large-capacity magazine guns existed at the time and that modern guns are “the direct descendants from the firearms at the time of statehood.”

It’s hard to argue otherwise, and it’s virtually impossible to find any state laws or even local ordinances in Oregon dating to its founding that deal with the capacity of a firearm or even bans on certain calibers, which might be close enough to be considered an historic analogue to the current magazine ban being challenged.

Measure 114 hasn’t fared well so far in state court (though U.S. District Judge Karen Immergut has shown far more deference to the state in her handling of the cases filed in federal court), and as long as judges are willing to follow the guidance of SCOTUS instead of seeking new and creative ways to uphold the state’s gun laws I believe that will continue to be the case. The next question is whether the state’s appellate courts or Supreme Court will intervene and overturn Raschio’s injunction. The state Supreme Court declined to take that step when Raschio first granted a temporary restraining order against Measure 114’s enforcement, and I’m cautiously optimistic that the same will be true when it comes to Raschio’s more recent injunction as well.