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Gun rights group, sheriff file federal lawsuit to block Measure 114, call it unconstitutional

KTVZ file

(Update: Adding background)

PENDLETON, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Three weeks before Measure 114 is scheduled to go into effect, a federal lawsuit has been filed to block the voter-approved gun regulation measure, one of the nation's strictest, claiming it is unconstitutional in several ways.

The lawsuit was filed Friday in federal court in Pendleton by Portland attorney John Kaempf on behalf of three plaintiffs: the Canby-based Oregon Firearm Federation, Sherman County Sheriff Brad Lohrey and Keizer gun store owner Adam Johnson. It names as defendants Oregon Gov. Kate Brown and Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum.

Measure 114 expands background checks, bans "high-capacity" ammunition magazine clips with more than 10 rounds and requires local entities to offer a training course and a permit process before a firearm can be purchased.

The lawsuit notes that "millions of law-abiding Americans own firearms equipped with magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition," saying they are popular because "in a confrontation with a violent attacker, having enough ammunition can be the difference between life and death."

It also alleges that "(Measure) 114 violates multiple constitutional provisions," as it "impermissibly burdens Plaintiffs' Second Amendment rights," also violating the "Takings Clause" by panning possession, along with sales and use, of magazines that were legally acquired before the measure's approval.

The ban on large-capacity magazines would not apply to current owners, law enforcement or the military.

To qualify for a permit under the measure, an applicant would need to complete an approved, in-person firearm safety course, pay a fee, provide personal information, submit to fingerprinting and photographing and pass a federal criminal background check. The permits would be processed by local police chiefs, county sheriffs or their designees.

Proponents of the measure say it would reduce suicides — which account for 82% of gun deaths in the state — mass shootings and other gun violence.

Opponents, including the left-wing Socialist Rifle Association, say it would infringe on constitutionally protected rights and could reduce gun access among marginalized communities and people of color if law enforcement agencies are the arbiters of the permitting process. They also say permitting fees and the cost of the firearms course could also be barriers to access.

The Oregon State Sheriffs Association came out against the measure after it made the fall ballot. Since its passage, several sheriffs have said they won't enforce the measure, should it survive legal scrutiny, both on constitutional grounds and due to the added cost amid limited staff. Others have said that enforcement of the measure would not be a priority.

You can read the full lawsuit below:

Article Topic Follows: Government-politics

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