OR Wants M114 Background Check Now; Judge Says Wait

The Oregon Firearms Federation published a statement supporting a measure in Columbia County establishing what is generically called a "Second Amendment Sanctuary." The measure passed but will it stand? iStock-884203732
The latest round in Oregon’s fight over Measure 114 resulted in Judge Robert Raschio telling court combatants they will have to wait for a ruling on whether the waiting period portion of the measure will be blocked. iStock-884203732.jpg

U.S.A.-(AmmoLand.com)- The State of Oregon wants the “completed criminal background check” tenet of Measure 114 to take effect now. Harney County Circuit Judge Robert Raschio put the brakes on again, saying he would decide by Jan. 3 whether to continue blocking that part of the measure, according to KGW News.

The requirement that a gun may not be sold or transferred until a background check is completed replaces the long-standing federal time frame of three days. A sale may be completed if a check is not completed within that 72-hour window. But according to KEZI News, ‘That’s how the gunman in a Charleston, South Carolina, mass shooting in 2015 bought his gun and killed nine people at a church.”

But Kevin Starrett, writing at the Oregon Firearms Federation’s website, sees it much differently. In a post hearing update, he wrote:

“The state requested that the Judge ignore the thousands of people waiting to take possession of the firearms they have already paid for and eliminate the one safeguard they have to obtain them…The Oregon Department of Justice wants to end this safeguard so they can prevent thousands of people from legally acquiring the firearms they have already purchased.”

He said the three-day provision is considered a “loophole” by proponents of the measure.

“Apparently,” Starrett wrote, “any policy that actually allows law-abiding Oregonians to legally obtain firearms is a ‘loophole.’”

According to Oregon Live, attorney Tony Aiello, Jr.—representing Gun Owners of America, which brought the lawsuit now in Raschio’s court—contended the three-day rule is a “relief valve” inserted in the federal gun law “to make sure a gun buyer isn’t waiting indefinitely for their background check to be completed.”

Special Assistant Attorney General Harry B. Wilson argued for the background check mandate to take effect.

Aiello countered, “This is infringement because … they have the ability to slow-walk background checks or to not do them whatsoever,” KGW noted.

Measure 114 is being challenged not only in state court, but by four federal lawsuits which have brought virtually every major gun rights organization onto the playing field. The Second Amendment Foundation filed two of those lawsuits, one challenging the magazine ban portion of the measure and the other targeting the requirement for training and obtaining a permit-to-purchase before an Oregon citizen can legally buy a firearm.

Then came the National Shooting Sports Foundation with a lawsuit, partnering with the Oregon Sport Shooting Association, a state affiliate of the National Rifle Association.

OFF filed the first federal action in November and a federal judge in Portland decided against issuing any kind of injunction or restraining order.

Starrett, who founded OFF some 30 years ago, said the effort to create an open-ended background check is “a potential bar on the purchase of a gun.”

“As many thousands of Oregonians have learned in recent months, the State Police simply cannot fulfill the duties assigned to them by Oregon law,” he said in the OFF update.

Adding to the drama, Oregon.live noted the Oregon State Police currently have “about 37,000 background checks waiting to be reviewed” so staff has been reassigned to assist with the backlog. The report said, “through Dec. 20, the state police have received about 43,000 requests for background checks.”

Starrett posited that putting background checks on delay, and ultimately denying citizens to buy firearms, has been the “ultimate goal” of Measure 114 backers, who call themselves “Lift Every Voice Orgon (LEVO).” He said there have been cases of qualified buyers “sitting in limbo waiting for the state to do its job and complete the ‘instant’ background check” for, in some cases, years.

Aiello contended some Oregon residents, if Measure 114 takes effect, “will have no guarantee that their background checks will be processed in a timely manner.”

Starrett predicted the fight over whether Measure 114 is constitutional is going to take a while, and in the meantime, “Some of the people who are being prevented from getting the guns they are legally entitled to, and have paid for, are at great risk because LEVO and the State of Oregon have prevented them from having the means to protect themselves.  Any harm these people suffer is on the hands of…LEVO and the state.”

He asserted LEVO has no legal bills to pay because the state is defending the new law.

Judge Raschio said he would decide by Jan. 3, which could mean he will rule earlier, perhaps sometime during the next week.

About Dave Workman

Dave Workman is a senior editor at TheGunMag.com and Liberty Park Press, author of multiple books on the Right to Keep & Bear Arms, and formerly an NRA-certified firearms instructor.

Dave Workman