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The Oregon State Supreme Cpirt has once again disappointed state officials by declining to issue a writ of mandamus to override lower court rulings that are blocking the implementation of gun control Measure 114. iStock-884203732
U.S.A. –-(AmmoLand.com)- Calling it a “massive win,” the head of the Oregon Firearms Federation is delighted that the Oregon State Supreme Court has denied a requested writ of mandamus in a state court challenge of gun control Measure 114, in a case in which OFF isn’t even a plaintiff.
OFF filed the first of four federal challenges to the law back in November. Three other federal complaints came quickly, all filed in U.S. District Court in Portland.
But OFF founder and Executive Director Kevin Starrett has previously told Ammoland News he looks at all of the litigation launched against the restrictive citizen initiative as a positive sign that the entire firearms community is united in this fight.
Measure 115 passed on the slimmest of margins, with 50.6 percent in favor and 49.4 percent opposed.
In a two-page en banc decision, the Oregon high court explained, “Our decision today does not serve as a bar to any future challenge in this court or otherwise on appeal. Rather, at this juncture, and given our understanding that the trial court is proceeding as expeditiously as possible to resolve the issues that the parties have presented, we have determined that we should decline to exercise our mandamus discretion at this time.”
The state had asked the court to direct the trial court—in this case, presided over by Harney County Circuit Judge Robert Raschio in the eastern Oregon city of Burns—to vacate a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction and allow Measure 114 to take effect.
The two previous rulings by Judge Raschio should have sent a signal. As noted by the high court:
“The first was a temporary restraining order that restrained the state from enforcing the permit-to-purchase requirement, together with the background-check requirement; by its terms, that order will remain in place until the state notifies the court that the permit-to-purchase requirement is ready to implement, at which point the court will hold a hearing (within 10 days) on plaintiffs’ motion for preliminary injunctive relief. The second was an order granting preliminary injunctive relief as to the large-capacity magazine restrictions, enjoining the state from enforcing those restrictions until a full hearing is held on plaintiffs’ complaint.”
Gun rights groups, including OFF, are fighting Measure 114 on constitutional grounds.
Lined up against the measure, in addition to OFF, are the Second Amendment Foundation with two separate federal actions, the National Shooting Sports Foundation and Oregon State Shooting Association in a third federal lawsuit (with support from the National Rifle Association), and Gun Owners of America and the Gun Owners Foundation, which filed the state-level action in Judge Raschio’s court.
SAF is joined in one of its lawsuits are G4 Archery, Grayguns, Inc., the Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) and a private citizen, Mark Fitz. Participating in the other action are FPC, Sportsman’s Warehouse and a private citizen Daniel Azzopardi.
In its short ruling, the court noted, “Our decision today does not serve as a bar to any future challenge in this court or otherwise on appeal. Rather, at this juncture, and given our understanding that the trial court is proceeding as expeditiously as possible to resolve the issues that the parties have presented, we have determined that we should decline to exercise our mandamus discretion at this time.”
In his prepared statement, Starrett acknowledged, “We fully expect the legislature to attempt an end run around the courts to implement their own version of 114, but for right now enjoy a solid victory for gun owners and common sense.”
He predicted a long court battle still lies ahead, and he noted, “The judge in the Federal case has ruled that 114 may go into effect. The state ruling blocked that, so we are safe for now but there is much still to be done.”
According to Oregon Public Broadcasting, Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum said in a tweet, “We intend to continue to defend the law zealously in the Harney County court. My office takes the position the law passed by Oregonians last November is totally proper and legal under the U.S. and Oregon constitutions.”
Until Judge Raschio holds a full hearing on the state case, the law remains blocked. If allowed to take effect, Oregonians will no longer be able to buy so-called “large capacity magazines,” and they will also have to take a firearms training course with a live-fire component, and then get a permit-to-purchase from a law enforcement agency before they can buy a firearm. Opponents of the law consider all of these conditions unconstitutional.