US federal judge rules that Oregon gun control law is constitutional News
© WikiMedia (Lorie Shaull)
US federal judge rules that Oregon gun control law is constitutional

US District Court Judge for the District of Oregon Karin Immergut ruled on Friday that Oregon Ballot Measure 114 (BM 114), which restricts large-capacity magazines (LCMs) and requires permits before purchasing a firearm, is constitutional.

Judge Immergut ruled that the Second Amendment does not protect LCMs, which BM 114 defines as magazines capable of firing 11 or more rounds without reloading. She found that BM 114’s restrictions are “consistent with the Nation’s history and tradition of firearm regulation.” Additionally, Judge Immergut ruled that BM 114’s restrictions are not an unconstitutional taking, are not unconstitutionally retroactive and are not unconstitutionally vague.

The ruling uses the Supreme Court’s constitutional analysis of firearm restrictions from the recent decision in New York Rifle & Pistol Assn. v. Bruen. IBruen, the Supreme Court struck down a New York state law prohibiting open carry in public places, holding that the law failed to pass an originalist reading of the Second Amendment. There, the Court held that when the plain language of the Second Amendment covers an individual’s conduct, the government must affirmatively demonstrate that the regulation is “consistent with this Nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation.” 

Judge Immergut found that LCMs are not covered by the Second Amendment because they are not “bearable arms.” She found that they are subsets of magazines and “are never necessary to render firearms operable.” Additionally, LCMs are “not common” for self-defense. After a discussion on the history of US gun regulation, Judge Immergut ruled that BM 114’s restrictions are consistent with the nation’s history and tradition of firearm regulation. She noted that “new technologies have led to the creation of particularly dangerous weapons” and “in response, governments passed laws to address [their] features.” The ruling says that BM 114’s permit mandate is constitutional because it contains “narrow, objective based criteria endorsed as constitutional under Bruen.”

Oregon voters approved BM 114 last fall. The measure requires Oregonians to obtain a permit from the state police before acquiring a firearm. Applicants must pay a fee for the permit, pass a background check, submit fingerprints and a photo ID. Additionally, applicants must not be prohibited from owning firearms and pass a gun-safety training course before receiving the permit. BM 114 also prohibits the use, possession and ownership of magazines that hold over ten rounds of ammunition. Violations of the law are considered a misdemeanor.

Current owners of 10-round magazines are exempt from the law. Police are exempt from the law. BM 114 also carves out exceptions for licensed gun dealers. Dealers are allowed to sell their inventory out of state, alter LCMs in their inventory to hold less than 11 rounds and can fulfill contracts to sell LCMs entered before BM 114 went into effect.