Oregon Statewide Ban on Magazines Ruled Unconstitutional and Throw Out of Court

By: Beth Moreton | Published: Apr 21, 2024

While Oregon may have initially voted to ban magazines and firearms, a recent court ruling has reversed that decision. 

The ruling was made due to the judge believing that banning guns would be unconstitutional, but the fight for stricter gun rules continues. 

Measure 114 Requested Stricter Gun Regulations

Measure 114 was voted for in 2022 in Oregon. Ballotpedia states that the measure passed to have stricter gun laws in the state. 

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A person holding a black handgun.

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The ruling meant that people were required to get a permit to purchase firearms and must provide photo ID, fingerprints, safety training, criminal background checks, and fee payments to obtain the permit. 

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Magazines Were Also Banned

As a further part of measure 114, this meant that the sale of magazines was to be banned altogether.

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A black ammunition magazine. Two gold bullets are outside the magazine on a wooden surface. There are other gold bullets inside the magazine.

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It meant manufacturing, importing, purchasing, selling, possessing, using, or transferring ammunition magazines that can hold ten or more rounds would be illegal. 

Not Wanting the Wrong People To Own Guns

One of the main reasons for Measure 114 was so that guns don’t end up in the wrong hands.

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A man wearing a green woolly hat and hoodie holding a shotgun.

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Every Town gives examples of this, such as them ending up in the hands of someone who intends on harming themselves or others. 

Just Over 50% Voted for the Ban

The vote was split, as 50.65% of voters favored the ban.

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A person putting a voting slip into a ballot box.

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Due to the large vote split, those who had voted against the ban went to court to get Measure 114 overturned.

The Constitution Was Bought Into Question

The Second Amendment in the US Constitution states that US citizens have the right to carry firearms. 

The faces of the Founding Fathers on the side of Mount Rushmore.

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This is where the ban on firearms in Oregon came into question because many felt that their Second Amendment right was being taken away from them. 

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A Judge Ruled the Measure Was Constitutional

Despite the recent ruling, before this court case, the Oregon Capital Chronicle reported a federal judge had ruled measure 114 as being constitutional. 

A black and gold gavel on top of a US flag.

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However, as the latest court case was ongoing at the time of the ruling, the measure was put on hold until this case had concluded. 

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Both Trials Had No Jury

Neither trial had a jury, and the decisions were purely based on evidence and the judge’s decision alone.

An empty courtroom. There are empty seats where the jurors, lawyers, and the judge sit. An American flag on a flag pole is behind the judge’s chair.

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This is known as a bench trial, which the American Bar Association says can be more efficient than having a jury. However, it can significantly impact the outcome, which is why pursuing a bench trial should be carefully thought out beforehand. 

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Arnold Versus Kotek

The case was named Arnold versus Kotek because it involved two local gun owners opposing Governor Tina Kotek, the attorney general, and the State Police Superintendent.

Oregon Governor Tina Kotek. She is sitting at a desk next to a laptop. She is wearing glasses and a grey shirt.

Source: Tony Miller/Wikimedia Commons

The Oregon Capital Chronicle reported that the two gun owners, Joseph Arnold, and Cliff Asmussen, were unhappy that their right to own firearms had been taken away as they didn’t want to have to buy a permit to keep them. 

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The Judge Looked at Self-Defense

Judge Robert Rascio was the judge on the case. He said that he would not be looking at how lethal large-capacity magazines can be. 

A man holding a black handgun. He is standing in a field and is wearing a green jacket.

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Oregon Live reported that the judge would instead focus on how Measure 114 related to the Constitution and whether or not it violated it. 

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Measure 114 Was an ”Undue Burden”

The judge’s final ruling was that Measure 114 was unconstitutional and resulted in placing a permanent injunction against it.

A black and white photo of a man holding a handgun. He is wearing ear defenders.

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United Liberty reported the judge as saying it was an “undue burden” on the right to own firearms.

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An Appeal Was Denied

An appeal was later filed, asking that the magazine ban and permit requirement be kept in place while the legal battle was ongoing.

A brown wooden gavel hitting a wooden sound block.

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However, the appeal was denied due to wanting to follow the constitution and to allow Oregon residents their Second Amendment right to own firearms. 

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