‘Blatantly unconstitutional’: Strict gun control law faces new NRA-backed legal challenge

Gun Rights

One of the strictest gun control laws in the nation is facing a new National Rifle Association-backed legal challenge as a federal judge prepares to decide whether to delay the measure’s implementation.

Two former Oregon lawmakers, a sporting goods store, the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) and the Oregon State Shooting Association — the NRA’s state affiliate — filed the lawsuit Thursday, arguing the voter-approved Measure 114 places “severe and unprecedented burdens” on those seeking to exercise their Second Amendment rights.

“Oregon’s Measure 114 is blatantly unconstitutional,” Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF’s senior vice president and general counsel, said in a statement provided to Fox News. “The right to keep and bear arms begins with the ability of law-abiding citizens to be able to obtain a firearm through a lawful purchase at a firearm retailer.”

Local police and gun dealers say all firearm sales will pause on Dec. 8 in Oregon unless a judge delays the implementation of Measure 114.

Local police and gun dealers say all firearm sales will pause on Dec. 8 in Oregon unless a judge delays the implementation of Measure 114.
(AP Photo/Andrew Selsky, File)

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Measure 114 passed with just 50.65% of the vote last month. It bans ammunition magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds and mandates the creation of a permit-to-purchase system that includes hands-on firearm training and fingerprinting.

The measure’s sponsors hope it will rein in violent crime, suicides and accidental deaths in the state.

The measure takes effect Dec. 8, at which point local police expect “all gun sales by dealers, at gun shows and most private transfers in Oregon will immediately stop,” according to a statement from the Oregon Association Chiefs of Police.

“Oregon has not yet even provided the necessary funding for, let alone set up the systems required to administer its new and onerous permitting scheme,” the latest lawsuit alleges. “As of right now, there is no firearms training course that has been certified by the state, which means that no one can lawfully obtain a permit-to-purchase.”

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Oregon State Police previously said they were working to get a permit-to-purchase system in place by the deadline, but gun store owners, a concealed handgun instructor and other police organizations all told Fox News that’s just too soon.

“We will not have a permitting process in effect on Dec. 8, but will continue working with agencies around the state to determine the best process for moving forward,” the Eugene Police Department wrote in a statement Thursday.

Some organizations have argued that Oregon's strict gun control law is unconstitutional.

Some organizations have argued that Oregon’s strict gun control law is unconstitutional.
(Gabriel Bouys/AFP via Getty Images)

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The suit seeks a permanent injunction against Measure 114, arguing that both the permit-to-purchase requirement and ban on magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds violate the Second Amendment. It’s the third suit filed since voters approved the measure.

Friday, U.S. District Judge Karin Immergut will hold a hearing on the first suit, filed by the Oregon Firearms Federation, Sherman County Sheriff Brad Lohrey and a gun store owner.  

“Delaying implementation of this constitutional policy while the merits are litigated would likely result in unnecessary deaths” and hinder Oregon’s efforts to “reduce the risk of a massacre within its borders,” Senior Assistant Attorney General Brian Simmonds Marshall argued in court documents this week.

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