Measure 114 Unfairly Targets Women, BIPOC, and LGBT

From 2020 onward there has been a surge of new gun owners. During this time, 48% of them are women and 45% are POC. Furthermore, Black women are the fastest growing group of new gun owners in the country. Whereas there is no official data collection on new LGBT gun owners, groups like Pink Pistols have seen record expansion, with over 400 members in the Portland chapter.

With so many threats to people’s security it’s not hard to see why so many are arming themselves. Civil unrest and far-right groups are everywhere. Homeless drug addicts and sex offenders roam the streets. Not to mention a rise in car-jackings, burglaries, prowlers, and more. Domestic violence towards women is at a record high. With severe understaffing of police bureaus across the state reducing response times, a firearm may be the only way to protect yourself and/or your family from immediate harm.

Furthermore, Oregon does not have a “Charleston Loophole” as many gun control advocates would lead you to believe. Technically, a Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL) could release the gun to the purchaser if the background check has not come back after 24 hours, however very few will. The “Oregon Firearms Safety Act” signed into law in 2015 makes any FFL liable for releasing a gun to a restricted person if the background check comes back negative. The FFL would risk losing their license if they prematurely released the firearm. This effectively closes the “loophole” subjecting nearly all purchasers to waiting for that background check to complete.1 The only exception to this is concealed handgun license holders, who have already gone through an extensive background check. This renders the permit-to-purchase (PTP) in Measure 114 as unnecessary and financially burdensome to marginalized groups.

Measure 114 piles on at least $100 ($65 for the PTP, plus whatever the class fee2 is) on top of the already relatively expensive purchase for a reliable firearm. For those who can least afford it this leaves them vulnerable to harm from criminals. Not to mention the fact that it increases the time for a first-time gun buyer to get the protection they need. The permit can take up to 30 days, you can’t even apply for the permit until you can schedule and take a class, then the redundant background check for buying the gun still required by Federal law will take up to another 30 days. This can especially affect women who are seeking protection from an abusive current or former partner.

The way the measure is written also leaves a gaping hole for local law enforcement to deny permit applicants. Historically, gun control laws have always been rooted in oppressing minorities from being able to own firearms. An Alabama sheriff famously denied Martin Luther King’s permit application. Southern states, like Alabama, routinely used the permit process to inhibit Black people from owning guns. If Measure 114 passes the “may issue” aspect of this permit could open the door for discrimination.

Even though most of our local police authorities would not blatantly discriminate, they are still severely understaffed. When I applied for my concealed handgun license in Multnomah County it was over six months from applying online to having my permit in hand. This is the exact same process involved as the PTP. With no source of funding for these PTP background checks, how are these individual, local agencies supposed to get the staff they need to process them? Especially since a) there is no provision for extensions beyond the 30-day period, just an automatic denial which must be appealed in court, and b) there will be a massive influx of applicants immediately following the measure’s active date.

Not only is Measure 114 is poorly planned and written, it also will do nothing to curb Oregon’s gun violence. By very definition criminals don’t care about any laws, let alone gun laws. They will use whatever size magazines they want as they are not even allowed to possess guns in the first place. It will only inhibit law-abiding people’s ability to protect themselves.

Encourage your family and friends to VOTE NO on Measure 114

  1. I purchased a gun last year and the background check took three weeks. When the background check came back I was out of town and unable to pick up the gun until the following week. Because 30 days had gone past I had to pay for another application fee and go through the process all over again. Despite passing the previous background check the gun store was still unable to give me possession of the gun after “three days”, and I instead had to wait another two weeks for my second background check to clear.
  2. Classes for this haven’t even been created yet, let alone priced. Multnomah County doesn’t even have a concealed carry class or law-enforcement sanctioned public range. Clackamas County does have a CCW class for $40, but that doesn’t include any shooting or range time. When you tack on a box or two of rounds at $21-48/ea (depending on caliber) that drives the price up even further. Their basic course which does include range time is $159 and you need 150 rounds of ammo (usually three boxes). Many rural and smaller law enforcement agencies might not even have the resources for these ranges and/or classes further impacting those who can least afford it.