New Oregon bill recharges the fight for Measure 114

Published: Mar. 28, 2023 at 5:20 PM PDT
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SALEM Ore. (KPTV) - A new bill introduced in the Oregon State Senate has brought Measure 114 back into the conversation as the legality of it is debated in state court.

Senate Bill 348 amends portions of the measure but if passed, the bill would essentially replace it. The text details a law similar to what was passed by Oregon voters in 2022, but there are some key differences. One is the minimum age to buy a gun in the state would rise from 18 to 21. The details of how the permitting process would work are also outlined. The bill would raise the cost to buy a permit from $65 to $150. The renewal permit would cost $110 and would be needed every five years. SB 348 also gets rid of the ability of a third-party civilian permitting agent to grant permits. Law enforcement agencies would the only ones to be allowed to issue permits on an objective basis.

Reverend Mark Knutson, one of the chief petitioners for Measure 114, said he aggress with the bill, but it doesn’t go far enough.

“We want to see the complete passage of Measure 114, in its intent by almost one million voters in Oregon,” Knutson said.

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On the other side of the debate, those who oppose SB 348 said it violates both Oregonian’s constitutional rights. Many referenced New York State Rifle and Pistol Association vs. Bruen. This is a landmark U.S. Supreme Court case that changed how lower courts are supposed to interpret gun control laws in the country.

State Senator Dennis Linthicum said SB 348 is an overreach by the state government.

“It turns out that all of these features in this bill today are just hoops to get through to prove the state has done something when in truth the state hasn’t accomplished anything,” Sen. Linthicum said.

During a public hearing, a representative from the National Rifle Association said to solve violence in Oregon communities, there should be more emphasis on mental health.

“I think the bigger issue we need to look at which was mentioned once before is the mental health use in the state of Oregon and the lack of treatment and facilities to treat those who have mental health issues,” he said.

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Cara Chen is a student activist who’s a junior at Lake Oswego High School. She agrees mental health in Oregon needs to be addressed, but for her, the problem of gun violence comes down to having easy access to firearms. Chen said SB 348 would address her concerns.

“Our brains aren’t fully developed until our early 20s and maybe giving a 17-year-old or 18-year-old access to an assault rifle is not the best idea,” Chen said. “I think that’s something, as classmates, as teenagers we all agree on.”

If you’d like to read the full text of the amendments, you can click here.