A ruling by an Oregon judge has temporarily suspended the implementation of Measure 114, a gun control law that was barely approved in a 2022 referendum.
The measure received only 50.65 percent support among voters and had majority backing in just six of Oregon’s 36 counties.
It requires individuals to obtain a permit before purchasing any kind of firearm and prohibits magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition.
The National Rifle Association (NRA) has labeled it “the nation’s most extreme gun control initiative,” according to Fox News.
“This Thanksgiving, we can be thankful for Article I, section 27 and its continued protection of our right to bear arms,” attorney Tony Aiello Jr., who represented two gun owners, said.
A point of contention at the center of the discussion was whether the distinction between semi-automatic and automatic weapons constituted such a drastic departure from precedent that Oregon’s state constitution no longer applied.
“The idea that Oregon’s pioneers intended to freeze the firearm technology accessible by Oregonians to antiques is ridiculous on its face,” Aiello said.
Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum claims the state will appeal.
“The Harney County judge’s ruling is wrong. Worse, it needlessly puts Oregonians’ lives at risk,” she said.
The law was met with legal challenges following its passage and has never been enforced, according to the Associated Press.
Despite a federal trial ruling that the law is in compliance with the federal Constitution, it must still be shown to abide by both the state and federal constitutions to take effect.
In his ruling, Circuit Court Judge Robert Raschio stated that citizens’ right to self-defense would be severely impeded by this legislation, citing that when Oregon adopted its constitution, settlers were provided with as much technological protection through weapons as possible.
“The court finds the (voters) of 1857 did not seek to restrain access to the best firearms with the highest functionality possible they could procure,” he wrote.
“The court finds that the large capacity magazine ban effectively bans all firearm magazines fixed or attached which is unconstitutional under any application of said law,” he wrote.
Raschio rejected claims that a magazine limit promoted safety.
“The court finds that 10-round magazine bans are no panacea to prevent a mass shooter,” he wrote.
“People tend to believe these events are prolific and happening all the time with massive levels of death and injury. The court finds this belief, though sensationalized by the media, is not validated by the evidence,” he wrote.
The decision is “likely the first opening salvo of multiple rounds of litigation,” said Norman Williams, a constitutional law professor at Willamette University, told the AP.
“The U.S. Constitution sets a floor, not a ceiling, for rights, so state constitutions can be more rights-protective than the federal constitution,” Williams noted.