The silver lining in Measure 114's passage

The silver lining in Measure 114's passage
AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

Oregon voters apparently decided to support Measure 114 after all. It wasn’t a landslide by any stretch of the imagination, but it still passed.

That’s the bad news, particularly for Oregon gun owners.

Oregon voters on Wednesday passed Ballot Measure 114, one of the more restrictive gun control measures in the country.

The ballot measure passed 51% to 49%, with 77% reporting, according to the Oregonian. Though the results were close with just over three-fourths of the vote tallied, the remaining counties of Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas all heavily favor the measure.

Measure 114, often referred to as the Reduction of Gun Violence Act, will require background checks, firearm training, fingerprint collection and a permit to purchase any firearm. Alongside heightened restrictions, the National Rifle Association (NRA) believes the legislation’s ambiguous language fails to safeguard gun owner information by creating a searchable gun owner database.

“The ballot measure gives the power to each permit issuing department to annually publish ‘any additional information that it determines would be helpful’ to the process. That information includes names, addresses, and a whole host of additional personal information that would be released to the public,” NRA spokesperson Lars Dalseide previously told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “This ballot measure fails to safeguard law-abiding gun owners’ personal information – and, by proxy, information of families, friends, and employers – being made public. Failing to include those safeguards puts lives and property at risk.”

And that starts to bring us to the silver lining.

Yes, there actually is one, though folks in Oregon aren’t going to feel that way, at least not for a while.

First, there’s the fact that in part due to the privacy concerns, at least part of this law is likely to get struck down and struck down hard. Admittedly, that’s not a slam dunk. Voter roles, for example, are public record, so there is some precedent for such information being open to the public. Yet guns are different since they can arguably make someone a target in and of itself.

The courts in the past have sided with gun owner privacy, so I do expect this part of the law to be struck down at a minimum.

And you know there’s a challenge in the making.

But what about the rest of the new law? Well, there are profound problems there as well.

For example, a training requirement just to own a firearm, if Oregonians are required to pay for it, amounts to a poll tax. You cannot require a fee in order for someone to be able to exercise a basic, constitutionally protected right at all. Yes, the door for a training requirement for concealed carry was left open by Bruen, but this isn’t about carrying a gun. It’s about even owning one.

Now, I’m not against training. I just think that if you’re concerned about people not being sufficiently trained, you can do better than just requiring it.

And I suspect that this challenge will go up the courts and eventually be struck down, killing any attempt at training requirements for gun ownership ever again.

The same is true with the 10-round limit on magazines. Following Bruen, we know where we have to look for similar laws in the past, and you’re not going to find an ammunition capacity limit. You’re just not, which means that is going to get struck down as well.

In the end, the silver lining here is that there’s so much in this measure that’s blatantly unconstitutional that we’re likely to see it killed by the courts. That means the possibility of it going high enough that it kills even the possibility of similar laws being passed going forward.

Then there’s the fact that this gun control law only squeaked by in Oregon of all places. A lot of people, including a lot of Democrats, voted against this. That’s telling, but it’s also important. It shows that yes, there is a line that some people aren’t willing to cross. We can learn from this going forward.

For folks in Oregon, things are going to suck for a bit. It might be a good long while, actually.

In the end, though, all the reprehensible stuff in Measure 114 is likely to lead to the downfall of all kinds of gun control policies throughout the nation.