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Oregon Firearms Federation Lawsuit: Latest Updates

Have questions about the Oregon Firearms Federation lawsuit? We explain what the lawsuit is about and share updates in this overview.

evident Editorial Team
February 17, 2024
gavel, lawsuit, American flag

In the fall of 2022, Oregon voters faced a decision with Measure 114. This ballot initiative, narrowly approved by just over 50% of voters, sought to implement stringent gun control measures. From restricting the sale of large-capacity magazines to introducing mandatory gun safety training, Measure 114 aimed to reshape the landscape of firearm ownership in the state.

However, the journey from ballot approval to implementation has been far from straightforward. The Oregon Firearms Federation, among others, swiftly took legal action, filing a lawsuit that challenged the constitutionality of Measure 114. This legal battle has not only spotlighted the intricacies of Oregon's gun laws but also raised fundamental questions about the balance between individual rights and public safety.

In this article, we’ll explain:

  • What the Oregon Firearms Federation Lawsuit is about;
  • The key details of the parallel state court lawsuit challenging Measure 114;
  • The latest Oregon Firearms Federation Lawsuit updates;
  • And what might happen next.

But to understand the Oregon Firearms Federation Lawsuit, let’s first look at the background of Measure 114.

Key Takeaways

What is Measure 114?

Measure 114 is an Oregon ballot initiative that was voted on in Fall 2022. The ballot measure was centered on gun control regulations and narrowly passed, with just over 50% of Oregon voters approving the initiative. 

Some of the core provisions of Measure 114 include a ban on the sale, transfer, and purchase of large-capacity magazines (defined as magazines containing more than ten rounds). The law would also require individuals to take a gun safety training course and undergo a criminal background check to obtain a permit to buy a firearm. 

Supporters of the measure argue it would reduce gun violence, including homicides, suicides, and mass shootings. Opponents of the measure argue that it improperly impinges upon Oregon gun owners' right to bear arms.

The law was originally set to take effect in December 2022, but it has been tied up in court proceedings after a number of individuals and groups, including the Oregon Firearms Federation, sued to block the law. 

If it were to take effect, the law would be one of the strictest gun control measures in the country. It was also one of the first new gun laws to be passed after the Supreme Court handed down a noteworthy ruling in June 2022.

What is the Oregon Firearms Federation Lawsuit about?

The Oregon Firearms Federation filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in Pendleton challenging Measure 114. It was the first lawsuit to challenge Measure 114 after it was approved by voters. 

The Oregon Firearms Federation was also joined by the Sherman County Sheriff and a co-owner of Coat of Arms Custom Firearms as plaintiffs in the lawsuit. 

The Oregon Firearms Federation lawsuit sought to get a court ruling that Measure 114 is unconstitutional and to obtain an injunction to bar the Measure from becoming law. The lawsuit also asked the court to bar the magazine capacity provision from taking effect at a minimum, even if the court did not throw out the entire law. 

The plaintiffs argued that the new law violated gun owners’ Second Amendment and Due Process rights under the U.S. Constitution.

Oregon Firearms Federation Lawsuit – Initial Ruling

The federal judge presiding over the Oregon Firearms Federation Lawsuit denied the request for a temporary restraining order. The judge ordered a 30-day delay in the implementation of the permitting requirement proposed under Measure 114 but upheld the ban on the sale and transfer of high-capacity magazines. 

The plaintiffs have appealed the federal judge’s decision to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. 

That decision was undercut, however, by a decision in a separate lawsuit challenging Measure 114 that was handed down on the same day. 

Other Measure 114 Lawsuits

The Oregon Firearms Federation lawsuit was not the only challenge to Measure 114, though. A separate lawsuit was filed in Oregon state court, and that lawsuit has actually made much larger waves. 

The state court lawsuit was filed by Gun Owners of America (a Virginia-based organization) and its legal defense fund, along with two residents of Harney County. 

A key difference between the two lawsuits is that the Gun Owners of America lawsuit challenged Measure 114 under Oregon’s state constitution, unlike the Oregon Firearms Federation lawsuit, which was filed in federal court and is based upon the U.S. Constitution and specifically the Second Amendment. 

State Lawsuit – Initial Ruling

The judge presiding over the lawsuit filed in Harney County issued a decision just three hours after the federal judge handed down its initial ruling in the Oregon Firearms Federation lawsuit. The state court judge, though, granted a temporary restraining order that blocked Measure 114 from taking effect just two days before it was scheduled to do so. 

Because the two lawsuits were filed on different grounds, the state court decision undercut the federal lawsuit ruling, which basically approved the law.

Measure 114 Lawsuits – Latest Updates

In November 2023, the state court judge again ruled in favor of the Gun Owners of America and their co-litigants, holding that the law violates Oregon’s state constitution. 

This means that, for now, Measure 114 is blocked, although the Oregon Attorney General has indicated she will appeal the ruling. Indeed, several levels of appeal are likely for both Oregon gun lawsuits, particularly as gun control law is in a state of flux.

U.S. Supreme Court Ruling in Bruen

In June 2022, the Supreme Court substantially altered the legal standard for evaluating firearm restrictions in its decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen

Clarence Thomas, writing for the 6-3 majority, held that gun control laws should be evaluated based on the text of the Second Amendment as well as the “historical tradition” of gun regulation. This represents a shift from the previous legal standard, which involved balancing gun rights against the public interest. 

Oregon’s Measure 114 was one of the first gun laws passed following the Supreme Court’s Bruen decision, and there is still much uncertainty about what the new legal standard should really entail. For instance, a federal judge in Indiana said the Supreme Court had created an “inconsistent and amorphous standard” in its Bruen ruling. 

What Happens Next

pros, and, cons

So, what happens next with the Oregon Firearms Federation lawsuit and the companion Gun Owners of America state court lawsuit? 

Both Measure 114 lawsuits will work their way through levels of appeal, potentially all the way to the level of the U.S. Supreme Court. In the meantime, the U.S. Supreme Court may revisit or clarify its Bruen holding given the uncertainty it has caused, so it’s unclear exactly what legal standard the Oregon gun lawsuits will even be evaluated under. 

In the meantime, Measure 114 will not be implemented as long as the ruling from the Harney County judge holds up, given that a ruling from either court, federal or state, is enough to block the law from taking effect.