Oregon gun control group paints measure as anti-racist

Oregon gun control group paints measure as anti-racist
AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

The state of Oregon is considering Measure 114, a ballot initiative that would create some of the most restrictive gun control laws in the nation.

Now, a lot of folks in and around cities like Portland and Eugene love these kinds of laws and they can give you a whole lot of reasons why.

But the gun control group Ceasefire Oregon, however, has one of the most inane ones I’ve ever seen.

That’s right. Measure 114 isn’t just a gun control measure, it’s a way to insure that black folks and other minorities can buy guns.

They double down on this a couple of different times, too.

Now, let’s understand that under current law in Oregon, there is no permit to purchase. So police and sheriff’s departments can’t discriminate because they have no opportunity to do so. They have no say in who does and doesn’t get to buy a firearm.

Further, Measure 114 won’t actually stop gun stores that want to discriminate from doing so. It’s long been established that gun stores not only can but should refuse to sell a gun if someone is giving them red flags While very few would be willing to turn down lawful sales to people who appear to just want to buy a gun for some legal purposes, if someone were to decide to discriminate, they’d simply claim there was something “off” about the sale.

Measure 114 doesn’t actually change any of that.

What’s more, it’s impossible for me to imagine how any rational individual who has actually read what’s contained in the initiative could think that this is somehow an anti-racism measure. Especially since Measure 114 includes a whole lot of steps that can be used to trip up someone interested in buying a firearm.

If there’s an upside to Measure 114 is that it doesn’t appear to give law enforcement discretion in determining who gets a license to purchase a firearm or not.

Yet even there, the initiative still finds a way to be discriminatory itself.

After all, requiring a training class before you can get a permit raises the cost, putting it out of reach of many poor Oregonians. Since a disproportionate number of those are black or Hispanic, it seems like the law itself is what’s likely to keep minorities disarmed.

But Ceasefire Oregon has it in their head that this will somehow reduce discrimination in gun sales, which makes absolutely no sense.

Again, the sales still have to go through an FFL holder–the state already has universal background checks–and that FFL holder still maintains the right to deny a sale to anyone for any reason.

The issue here is that groups like Ceasefire Oregon often don’t understand enough about the subject they’re advocating for or against. They know what they’ve been told and they run with it. However, so much of what they believe just isn’t so.

Like thinking that Measure 114 will actually do anything to help minorities in Oregon buy guns.

Of course, then there’s the very real possibility that Ceasefire Oregon knows that, but is banking on some voters being too stupid to realize that until after the measure gets a vote.