LGBT community has concerns over Measure 114

LGBT community has concerns over Measure 114
AP Photo/Keith Srakocic

To say Measure 114 has issues would be putting it mildly. Over and over again, we keep seeing problems with the new law. There’s a reason it’s been put to a halt, if only temporarily.

Yet the problems just keep on coming, it seems, and this time from a group that most gun control supporters consider themselves allies of.

Some in the LGBT community have concerns.

Some of Oregon’s trans and queer gun supporters are worried that a new state law will prevent them from buying firearms.

The law, Measure 114, grants county sheriffs and police chiefs discretion to determine who qualifies to purchase a firearm under a new permit-to-purchase program.

But Measure 114 lacks criteria clearly defining what disqualifies applicants, details on what makes someone a threat and what data can be used by law enforcement in making that decision. That’s a problem for activists who have critiqued law enforcement, particularly in the racial justice protests that took place over the past two years.

“I just feel like if I was to go online and say like the police are terrorists or something … [the police] would be like, ‘Well, you seem like you might not be fit for this community to be armed,’ ” says Mia Rose, a trans person of color and former licensed firearms dealer. “If they were to get that information that you got snatched up off the street [arrested during the Portland protests prompted by the killing of George Floyd in 2020], I would assume that the law would say they could deny your purchase, or deny your right to have a permit.”

Proponents argue that objective standards are being drafted by state police, but Rose’s concerns aren’t unwarranted.

Let’s also remember that standards created by the police can be changed by the police. Just because the initial standards may be unbiased and objective, there’s nothing preventing them from changing it down the road.

Measure 114 itself doesn’t create an objective standard, and that’s where the problem will always lie.

Now, I’m quite sure Rose and I disagree on any number of subjects. She began training minorities and the LGBT community in the use of firearms after the election of Donald Trump. It seems clear that she and her friends aren’t exactly on the right on most issues.

Yet that doesn’t matter. Everyone has a right to keep and bear arms unless that right is removed via due process.

If the state police can craft criteria for a gun license and anyone be excluded, though, that’s a big problem. That’s not due process.

And if you’re someone who believes the police are racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, hydrophobic, or any other kind of -phobic, you probably aren’t going to be reassured that your ability to buy a gun now rests in the hands of a group you believe want you dead.

Moreover, you shouldn’t have to be concerned about that. Are you a convicted felon? No? Did your credit card go through? Yes? Awesome. Here’s your gun.

That’s it. That’s how it should be, and Measure 114 is an impediment to that proper order.