Issues with Measure 114

A Moderate Position on Measure 114.

On Oregon’s November election ballot there will be a referendum limiting both the ownership of firearms and the sale and possession of magazines with the ability to house more than 10 individual pieces of ammunition. Although I believe the law intends to deal with the rise of gun violence in Oregon, specifically Portland, I believe Measure 114 was so hastily and incompetently drafted it will lend itself to a myriad of logistic and legal challenges. Overall, if Measure 144 passes, not only will it not effectively curb street violence, it will likely lead to systemically racist and discriminatory practices, civil rights violations, and a judicial reaction by the US Supreme Court that would likely set gun restriction advocates back a generation. Here are the major issues in the Measure.

First, 114 would effectively ban the majority of all shotguns in Oregon. Historically, shotguns have been the safest form of gun ownership. For this reason even staunch critics of gun ownership advocated shotguns for home defense over the use of rifles or handguns. This is because pellet shotgun ammunition does not have a high rate of penetration, thereby limiting its destructive nature. Less damage means less incidents of fatalities, especially accidental deaths. Even President Biden promoted the use of shotguns over rifles or handguns for home self defense.1 What’s worse is with shotguns being banned, this will promote the use of rifles and handguns which will in turn increase the rate of intentional and accidental injury or death by firearm.

Second, although Measure 114 does not make existing magazines (*container for bullets or ammunition) housing more than 10-rounds of ammunition illegal, there is no protection against false arrests for their ownership. Let’s remember that magazines do not have manufacturing dates or serial numbers. This means that it will be impossible for law enforcement to know if the banned item is in fact illegal. Thus, if law enforcement makes an arrest for the possession of a banned magazine, court proceedings could find as a positive defense that they were purchased and owned prior to the ban making them legal and the arrest unconstitutional.. This “technicality” will lend itself to wrongful arrest lawsuits. Even worse, what officer, deputy or trooper would feel comfortable making such an arrest.

Third, Measure 114 does not exempt law enforcement. This is highly problematic and will lead to a number of issues. First, officers will have to house their duty weapon and/or their duty magazines at work as the transfer of such items to and from work off duty would be considered illegal and likely a felony as each item would constitute a separate crime. As prior law enforcement, I believe this burden will lead to the mass exodus of persons away from law enforcement into the private sector or into other public law enforcement positions in more states with laws allowing law enforcement to protect themselves and family off duty. As a non-law enforcement member, it is important for the public to understand that local and federal prosecutors, deputies, officers, troopers, and federal officers frequently receive threats to their lives and their families lives, requiring them to be armed at all times, even off duty. I know this to be true from personal experience. In fact there were many times I ran into persons I arrested while off duty, and was even followed off duty. My wife and infant son were ran off a highway and into a ditch by a suspect, whose case I initiated and who later plead guilty to criminal sex acts. Another, but similar, issue with Measure 114, is its direct conflict with H.R. 218, the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act” which allows current and retired law enforcement officers (LEO’s) to conceal carry in all 50-states. Let’s remember that it was an off duty LEO that ended the mass shooting on April 28, 2019, at a San Diego Synagogue.

Fourth, Measure 114 does not exempt Private Security. In many cases, security is the first contact in many types of crimes. In fact, security guards make up a large percentage of persons contacting 911 for a law enforcement response for critical incidents. Private security is also responsible for the protection of places of faith, such as Mosques, Temples, Synagogues and Churches, all of which are prime targets for hate groups. Without the proper security measures in place minority faith groups would be more easily targeted. Armed security is also the primary defense for event venues, concerts, festivals, and political events, all of which are targets of interest for extremist groups or terrorists. As it stands, Measure 144’s crippling effect on private security would significantly increase the likelihood of a mass casualty event–a contradiction to Measure’s intent.

Fifth, Measure 114 will undoubtedly face many legal challenges due to it’s likelihood to
increase racist and discriminatory practices, as well as likely unconstitutional demands around
“mandatory” background checks. As the referendum is written, permitting remains in the hands
of local law enforcement agencies, who would have the authority to engage in exhaustive
background checks. This process is likely going to be tainted by racist and discriminatory
practices. This is one of the reasons mandatory background checks for gun purchases are
conducted by a 3rd party at the federal level and not by the arms provider. I personally witnesses
racism and discrimination at my department which led to my exit from the profession.

In conclusion, please know I understand that no Bill or Referendum is perfect. This being said, the unintended consequences of Measure 114 remain unbearable. For an exhaustive list of missteps regarding this referendum, please read through the below points:

  • 51% of Oregonians own guns / CBS News <https://www.cbsnews.com/pictures/gun-ownership-rates-by-state/20/>
  • Upwards to 85% of shotguns in Oregon would be banned.
    • There are no carve outs for shotguns / “grandfathering
  • Only bans new sales and possessions of magazines with more than 11. Gun owners could
    own if purchased and owned prior to ban.
    • No “affirmative defense” clause
    • Magazine have no serial number or date of manufacture
  • Off-duty local, state and federal officers are not exempt from permitting or magazine
    capacity portions.
    • Cannot have on-duty firearms at house to include rifle, shotgun and handgun
    • On-Call issues
    • Call out issues; detectives, etc
    • Secret Service, FBI, etc.
  • Security is also not exempt from permitting or capacity portions
    • First Responder in almost every situation which is why the majority of guards are
      killed by law enforcement annually.
    • This includes private details for corporations and persons of stature
  • Local law enforcement is burdened with funding the permitting process and law
    enforcement instruction.
    • No monies appropriated for funding
    • 114 would require a minimum of one extra officer / deputy per department.
  • Impossible Training Course Requirements
    • In Classroom portion
    • No CHL class would suffice
    • Law Enforcement Instructor
    • Law Enforcement range
    • Training would require a live course of fire
    • Liability exists for the Department in wrongful deaths lawsuits
    • Not enough instructors now for law enforcement currently
    • No standardized training curriculum
  • Permitting Issues for Departments
    • At the whim of local law enforcement agents which again causes discrimination
      issues
    • Liability issues for not issuing
    • Again, resource issue regarding background checks
    • Not all Departments have a LEDs database which would lead to 911
      Communication Centers being overloaded with NIC / LEDs searches
  • Background Checks
    • Resource issue for departments
    • “Any additional information” Clause
  • Does not lower crime
    • Proponents do not mention California, Hawaii, Maryland or New Jersey which
      currently have high capacity laws, but higher crime.
    • Chicago, New York, D.C., L.A., etc. crime rates are soaring, yet have high gun
      restrictions
  • Does not lower suicide rates
    • Only takes one bullet to commit suicide
    • Suicide rates in Europe and other countries comparable to US – Did not decrease
      with gun restrictions
    • Suicide is legal in Oregon
  • Constitutionality re capacity
    • US Supreme Court is forcing lower courts to review their rulings
    • Likely if lower courts do not overturn, then the USSP will rule unconstitutional
  • Constitutionality re permitting and background checks
    • Waiting periods for background checks
    • Bruen Decision June, 2022 “shall issue”
  • Firearms Purchasing Issues
    • Local gun shops would have to contact local Departments to verify if the “online”
      registration system is not updated or offline
    • Local PD’s would have to maintain records for thousands of applicants
    • New gun owners cannot leave without the permit, yet you cannot take the training
      for the permit without a firearm. How is one not supposed to be in possession of a
      firearm for training if the permitting regulations disallow possession prior to.

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