PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum unveiled her legislative priorities for 2023, including a bill that would ban ghost guns, after voters passed gun Measure 114 in November — enacting a high-capacity magazine ban and enhanced permitting.
Rosenblum says this is the fourth time she has introduced the legislation but says she is hopeful it will pass this session.
Describing ghost guns, Rosenblum says “they’re basically un-serialized, undetected weapons – weapons that can be made of plastic, on 3-D printers, or weapons that can be made at home in kits that are obtainable online by anyone, and which up until recently, have not needed, have not been required to have even a serial number on the parts.”
The attorney general added “that’s going to change under federal law, but there’s a lot of provisions of our law that we feel are necessary in order to ensure that ghost guns are illegal in Oregon. So, we’re hopeful and think that this is our time to get that gun legislation through and we call it ‘public safety legislation,’ because these are crime guns. These are guns used to commit crimes and we want to get them off the streets.”
Rosenblum’s proposed measure, HB 2005, would ban the sale, manufacture and possession of ghost guns in Oregon. The bill’s sponsors include Representatives Reynolds, Grayber, Kropf, and Evans, Senators Manning Jr., Prozanski and Sollman.
In her announcement of the legislative package, Rosenblum stated that ghost guns “frustrate law enforcement investigations,” and said they can be obtained without a background check and when 3-D printed, they evade security measures.
This bill comes after Oregon voters narrowly approved Measure 114 in November, banning high-capacity magazines, which the measure text defines as having 10 or more rounds — excluding members of the military and law enforcement.
The measure also enhances background checks and permitting. Under Measure 114, a person must apply for and be issued a “permit to purchase” a firearm from the local law enforcement authority that oversees the jurisdiction where the person lives.
Measure 114 garnered 50.7% of the vote, or 965,062 votes in favor as opposed to 939,325 votes against it, as reported by the Associated Press.
Despite voter approval, the measure has been tangled in several lawsuits.
“One of the things we’re working on is defending Measure 114,” Rosenblum said. “Now, we’re defending that law against various lawsuits, there’s quite a number, I can’t even tell you how many there are now.”
Rosenblum highlighted two lawsuits the law faces, one of which she says the Oregon Department of Justice has won so far under the temporary injunction stage — stopping action by a party until a trial or other court action.
The other lawsuit, she noted, the Oregon Dept. of Justice lost in state court at the temporary injunction phase.
Earlier in January 2023, Harney County Judge Robert Raschio declined to lift his order that temporarily froze the gun measure — stemming from his December 2022 ruling.
“That the large capacity magazine bans promote public safety is mere speculation,” Raschio wrote. “The court cannot sustain restraint on constitutional right on mere speculation that the restriction could promote public safety.”
In December, Raschio issued a preliminary injunction against restrictions on the sale, manufacture and use of large-capacity magazines and a temporary restraining order on the requirement that a permit be obtained to buy a gun.
The lawsuit in Harney County, filed by Gun Owners of America Inc., the Gun Owners Foundation and several individual gun owners, sought to have the entire law placed on hold while its constitutionality is decided. The state lawsuit specifically makes the claims under the Oregon Constitution, not the U.S. Constitution.
“We’re handling whatever cases are involved in challenging a law that was passed by people,” Rosenblum told KOIN 6 News. “We are asking the Oregon Supreme Court to look at the rulings of the eastern Oregon state court judge, and frankly we don’t agree with his ruling, so we’re asking them to reverse his ruling so that we can move onward and we can implement this law which we feel is an important law to get going on, it’s a way to protect the people from these mass shootings and generally from gun violence in our state.”
In addition to the legal challenges facing the voter-approved bill, some sheriff’s offices — including Union and Linn counties — have announced they would not enforce the bill if it passed.
Overall, Rosenblum says she’s hopeful the bill will be implemented in 2023.
“Yes, I think that it will be [implemented] but there’s definitely some legal proceedings that need to be concluded before we get there. So, we’re trying to do everything we can to expedite them and that includes a procedure known as a ‘mandamus,’ where you ask the Supreme Court to expedite a ruling on the matter so that we can get on to the merits, and we’re hoping that will happen soon so we can really get the ball rolling on this law.”