Strict gun bill on Oregon ballot will cause ‘greater risk of violence,’ harmful to public safety, critics warn

Gun control opponents worry an Oregon ballot measure will make their communities less safe since police agencies will be forced to fund and operate a massive permit-to-purchase program.

“This is the most extreme gun control measure in the country, or at least one of the most extreme,” Oregon State Shooting Association President Kerry Spurgin told Fox News. “It will virtually eliminate firearm sales in Oregon as written.”

If approved, Measure 114 would require a background check, hands-on firearm training, fingerprint collection and a permit to purchase a gun. Police would be required to maintain an electronic, searchable database of all firearm permits.

The measure would also outlaw ammunition magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds.

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Measure 114 would require Oregonians to go through a lengthy permit process including hands-on firearm training before they are allowed to purchase any gun.
(iStock)

Supporters believe the measure, also known as the Reduction of Gun Violence Act, will curb homicides, suicides and accidental shootings.

“When our neighbors are bleeding, we cannot stand idly by,” Rev. Mark Knutson, one of the chief petitioners for the measure, told The Oregonian. “We had an imperative to act.”

The interfaith group Lift Every Voice Oregon crafted the measure and collected more than 130,000 signatures to place it on the ballot. Representatives of Lift Every Voice Oregon did not respond to emails requesting an interview.

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Oregon already requires a background check on gun sales, but Measure 114 would duplicate the process, according to the Oregon State Sheriffs Association. It would also require local police departments to create and fund programs to issue permits.

“This measure will not make our community safer,” Deschutes County Sheriff Shane Nelson said in a video statement. “It will put our communities at greater risk for violence because it requires that every sheriff’s office and police agency divert scarce public safety resources to background systems that already exist.”

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The state sheriffs’ association expects the bill will cost local governments $49 million annually, though permit fees would bring in up to $19.5 million a year based on an estimated 300,000 annual applications.

The high-capacity magazine ban would kick in 180 days after the bill’s passage, but it’s not clear how soon a permit would be required to purchase a gun. Opponents say the level of training required by the bill is not immediately available, leading to concerns that it will effectively stop firearm sales in Oregon.

Voters in Oregon will consider one of the nation's strictest gun control measures, requiring a permit to purchase a firearm and settling a limit on magazine capacity.

Voters in Oregon will consider one of the nation’s strictest gun control measures, requiring a permit to purchase a firearm and settling a limit on magazine capacity.
(Gabriel Bouys/AFP via Getty Images)

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The state could pause gun sales until the new systems is up and running, but University of Oregon constitutional law professor Ofer Raban told OPB such a move would quickly be challenged. It’s more likely gun sales would continue as usual until the firearms safety courses and permitting system were established, OPB reported.

Six states and Washington, D.C., require a permit to purchase any gun, while several other states require a permit to buy handguns, according to Ballotpedia.

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A poll commissioned by The Oregonian showed 51% of likely voters support the measure.

If Measure 114 passes, legal challenges will likely follow. The state sheriffs’ association noted the Supreme Court recently ordered the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to revisit its ruling upholding a similar magazine ban in California.

“Unfortunately, that will cost Oregon time, money, and it’s going to impact Oregon citizens, law-abiding citizens,” Spurgin said.

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