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Oregon Supreme Court lets stand a suspension of new gun law

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Oregon Capital Bureau

Oregon’s new voter-approved gun law will remain suspended, even though it was scheduled to take effect Thursday.

The Oregon Supreme Court, in a two-sentence statement Wednesday, rejected a motion filed earlier in the day by the Oregon Department of Justice to let Measure 114 take effect despite a temporary restraining order that blocks its enforcement.

The next step is a Dec. 13 hearing in Harney Court Circuit Court, where Judge Robert Raschio will hear arguments over whether to issue a preliminary injunction against Measure 114. Such an injunction has more legal force than a temporary restraining order, which is meant to be temporary. An injunction signals that a judge believes there is a valid dispute to be resolved.

His subsequent decisions can be reviewed by the Oregon Court of Appeals and the Oregon Supreme Court.

Raschio issued the temporary restraining order Dec. 6, the same day that a federal judge rejected a temporary restraining order in U.S. District Court requested by the Oregon Firearms Federation and others. They also are the plaintiffs in the Harney County case.

Raschio said Measure 114 conflicts with the state constitutional guarantee to bear arms.

Narrowly approved by Oregon voters on Nov. 8, the measure limits ammunition magazines to 10 rounds, the specific provision challenged by the plaintiffs. It also would require purchasers to undergo firearms training and complete background checks before they can obtain permits to obtain firearms. Under federal law, transfers can proceed even if background checks are not completed within a specified period.

Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, whose office defends the state against challenges to ballot measures, said in a statement accompanying the Supreme Court filing that Raschio’s decision was wrong. She said:

“Magazine capacity restrictions and permitting requirements have a proven track record: They save lives! We are confident the Oregon Constitution — like the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution — allows these reasonable regulations.”

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