Fri, 29 Sep 2023

Court to hear challenge to new Oregon gun law

Robert Besser
09 Jun 2023, 08:56 GMT+10

PORTLAND, Oregon: A federal trial has begun in Portland, Oregon examining the constitutionality of a stringent gun control law approved by the state's voters. The trial, conducted before a judge rather than a jury, will determine if the law infringes upon the U.S. Constitution.

This legal battle holds significant implications for one of the nation's toughest gun control laws, especially following a landmark Supreme Court decision that has created confusion around firearm restrictions across the country.

Oregon's measure, known as Measure 114, mandates that residents undergo safety training and background checks to obtain a permit for purchasing firearms. Additionally, it prohibits the sale, transfer, or import of gun magazines holding more than ten rounds, except for those owned by law enforcement, military personnel, or acquired before the measure's passing.

Existing owners of high-capacity magazines are only allowed to possess them at home, at firing ranges, in shooting competitions, or while hunting within the confines of state laws.

In November, the Oregon Firearms Federation and a county sheriff filed a federal lawsuit, arguing that the law violates the Second Amendment's right to bear arms and the due process clause under the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The plaintiffs' attorney contended that the law infringes upon constitutional rights, including the right to bear arms and the protection against the seizure of property.

Conversely, the defense plans to argue that large-capacity magazines should not be categorized as "bearable arms" and represent a significant technological advancement from the firearms available when the Second Amendment was drafted.

They will also highlight the dangers of gun violence and the risks posed by the availability of firearms and high-capacity magazines to the well-being and safety of Oregon's citizens.

The trial is expected to last five days and include testimony from various witnesses connected to firearms manufacturing, sales, and Sheriff Brad Lohrey of Sherman County. Meanwhile, other lawsuits have been filed against the measure, including a separate one in state court that claims it violates the Oregon Constitution.

The state court judge presiding over that case has temporarily suspended the law, and a trial is scheduled for September.

Supporters of the law argue that it will help curb mass shootings, reduce gun violence, and prevent suicides, which account for 82 percent of gun-related deaths in Oregon, according to the Oregon Health Authority. The outcome of this trial will likely have far-reaching consequences, with potential appeals that could eventually reach the U.S. Supreme Court.

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