When Oregon voters passed Measure 114, it was hailed as a victory for gun control. To be fair, they weren’t wrong. The egregious infringement on people’s rights was as clear as day.
What’s more, any attempt to point out the unconstitutionality of the law were met with claims that it was the will of the people–because segregation was perfectly acceptable because most people in the South supported it or something.
That sparked off the legal fight, one that many people were confident the law would survive. Why they thought that is beyond me, but I’m biased.
It seems, though, that my understanding of whether or not Measure 114 was constitutional or not comes a lot closer to what the most recent hearing on the matter found.
A state court ruling against Oregon’s gun control policy, Measure 114, is going to stand after an expected final hearing about the matter today in Harney County Circuit Court to consider more arguments against the Court’s original case finding.
Harney County Circuit Court Judge Robert Raschio today said he expects the court’s judgment in the case to reflect language he used in his opinion letter about the case, saying Measure 114 is unconstitutional by Oregon’s Constitution.
He had set a January 2, 2024, hearing about his pending ruling against Measure 114 after defendants made more arguments in filings with Harney County Circuit Court after Raschio issued his written legal opinion, ruling November 21, 2023, that Oregon’s gun control policy, passed November 2022 by referendum as Measure 114, violated the state’s constitution.
Judge Raschio denied that motion, before stating the Court’s judgment language would reflect his Opinion Letter Granting a Permanent Injunction in the case.
He opened that letter with, “The Harney County Circuit Court is issuing a Permanent Injunction under Oregon Revised Statute 28.020 declaring 2022 Ballot Measure 114 unconstitutional thereby permanently enjoining its implementation. The court finds the plaintiffs have shown their rights to bear arms under Article l, § 27 of the Oregon Constitution would be unconstitutionally impaired if Ballot Measure 114 is allowed to be implemented. Dovle v. City of Medford, 356 Or. 336 (2014). Based upon a facial constitutional
evaluation of Ballot Measure 114, the measure unduly burdens the plaintiffs’ right to bear arms. State v. Christian, 354 Or. 22 (2013).”
And, the truth of the matter is that Measure 114 does all that and more if you’re looking at the Second Amendment, but the court found that it violated the right as protected under Oregon’s constitution.
Frankly, the Oregon Constitution isn’t particularly vague on the matter.
Section 27. Right to bear arms; military subordinate to civil power. The people shall have the right to bear arms for the defence [sic] of themselves, and the State, but the Military shall be kept in strict subordination to the civil power[.]
Plain and simple, people have the right under Oregon’s constitution. There doesn’t seem to be anything expressly permitting gun control, though it lacks that whole “shall not be infringed” thing we see in the Second Amendment.
The measure requires things like universal background checks and magazine bans as well as a gun licensing requirement.
Interestingly, while “the will of the people” seemingly supported the law, it should be noted that only six of 36 Oregon counties actually voted in favor of it. These counties were also the most urban in the state. Shocking, I know.
The passage of Measure 114 is a prime example of the urban/rural divide on guns.
In this case, though, the urban counties thought they could foist this abomination onto the rural ones and have just found out that it’s not that simple. Constitutionality matters.