PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — As votes continue to be counted throughout Oregon, the Linn County sheriff is already preparing for the possible passage of one measure that is some of the strictest gun control legislation in the U.S.
In a Facebook post on Wednesday, Sheriff Michelle Duncan announced that if passed, her deputies would not uphold Measure 114, which requires a state police-maintained permit/firearm database and prohibits “large capacity” ammunition magazines. There is an exception for military and law enforcement, however.
“This [Measure 114] is a terrible law for gun owners, crime victims, and public safety,” said Sheriff Duncan. “I want to send a clear message to Linn County residents that the Linn County Sheriff’s Office is NOT going to be enforcing magazine capacity limits. This measure is poorly written and there is still a lot that needs to be sorted out regarding the permitting process, who has to do the training and what exactly does the training have to cover.”
When it comes to permitting requirements, Sheriff Duncan said she plans to work with other law enforcement agencies, elected officials and community members following official results. She said she wants to protect county residents’ right to own firearms and ensure this law does not impede that.
The sheriff told KOIN 6 News their office’s phones were blowing up on Wednesday as the results rolled in.
She said voters in Linn County were calling because they were fearful of the measure passing and wanted to know what she was going to do or not do as it related to high-capacity magazines.
Duncan added “I don’t want people that currently have those types of magazines with their guns to be fearful that we’re going to just start pulling people over and confiscating them and arresting them for it.”
She went on to say that she’s still working on implementing the gun permitting process but hopes to see an immediate lawsuit against it.
Portland State University criminal justice professor Ron Louie said “I understand her position. But as far as reducing the magazine issue, again, rapid fire, far as I’m concerned, I don’t see their place in our society, and I don’t think that’s an issue with the Second Amendment.”
Louie campaigned in support of Measure 114 saying it will make Oregon safer from gun violence.
Formerly, Louie served as police chief of Astoria and Hillsboro for decades.
He explains it’s not that surprising to see a sheriff take a stance like this, considering they’re elected to office.
“So, they have an electorate that they have to answer to. We police chiefs answer to our city council, our community and our bosses, union, city managers. So, we don’t have to, quite frankly, dabble in politics that much. Just don’t have to,” Louie said.
As of Thursday afternoon, the post has more than 6,000 comments and nearly 10,000 shares.
“I’ve had a lot of people that are very supportive of my stance on it. I’ve had a lot of people — some in this community, some are well outside this community — that don’t believe that I should be able to make that statement. Law enforcement is always tasked with using discretion and figuring out how we’re gonna use our resources,” Duncan explained.
She says she’s going to work as quickly as they can to implement this law but hopes the state will step up to provide funding, so they can focus their limited resources on responding to crimes, instead of processing permits.
KOIN 6 News reached out to other sheriff’s offices in the region for comment.
In a statement, the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office said “the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office is evaluating how Measure 114 may impact operations. We will be working with lawmakers, key stakeholders and our public safety partners to determine how to best implement a system that meets the requirements of Measure 114.”
Meanwhile, the Hood River County Sheriff’s Office said they will not be making a statement at this time.
KOIN 6 News is waiting to hear back from other sheriffs across the state.
Despite results still trickling in, the Oregonian/OregonLIVE on Tuesday night projected that the measure passed. As of 8 a.m. Thursday, the Associated Press had still not called it either way, though it appears Oregonians are in favor of the measure with projections showing 50.8% of voters in support and 49.2% in opposition.
The measure was efforted by Lift Every Voice Oregon, a group of faith leaders who have been trying to get this on the ballot for years. The group proposed the law in response to school shootings.