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Oregon Supreme Court denies bid to unblock gun control law

Thursday's denial is the second from the state's high court regarding Measure 114, a contentious gun control law narrowly passed by voters this past November.

PORTLAND, Ore. (CN) — Oregon’s new gun restrictions face roadblocks once again as the state Supreme Court upheld an order Thursday morning blocking the state’s recently passed Measure 114 from taking effect.

Measure 114 narrowly passed in the general election last November, and would require citizens to obtain a permit and a criminal background check to purchase a gun. It would also limit the ability to obtain “high-capacity magazines” holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition.

In January, Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum petitioned Oregon’s Supreme Court to reverse a set of rulings made by Harney County Judge Robert Raschio that blocked the measure from taking effect. The petition follows a different emergency motion Oregon filed in December in response to one of Raschio’s initial orders which was also denied.

“After considering the current procedural posture of the underlying action, we decline to issue a writ,” the high court said in the per curiam ruling, denying the petition without prejudice.

But the justices emphasized their decision “has no bearing on the parties’ respective positions as to any aspect of the underlying proceeding, including the permits of plaintiffs’ complaint,” and that their decision does not serve as a bar to any future challenge in this court or otherwise on appeal.

“We recognize that the legal status of Measure 114 is of significant concern to many Oregonians,” the justices wrote. “Of course, it is the role of the judicial branch of government to resolve disputes such as challenges to laws enacted by the legislative branch, which includes the people exercising their initiative power.”

They added: “That resolution is underway in the trial court; our only determination today is that now is not an appropriate time to exercise our authority in mandamus in connection with the trial court’s temporary and preliminary rulings.”

Rosenblum took to Twitter to air her grievances with the ruling. “I am very disappointed that the Oregon Supreme Court denied our request to allow Measure 114, Oregon’s new gun safety law, to take effect now," she tweeted. "We intend to continue to defend the law zealously in the Harney County court.”

She later added, “My office takes the position the law passed by Oregonians last November is totally proper and legal under the U.S. and Oregon constitutions.”

Attorney Tyler Smith of Tyler Smith & Associates P.C., who represents Gun Owners of America in the Harney County case, said in an email that he believes his client argued fully in their opposition to the state’s motion “why it would have been legally inappropriate for the Supreme Court to have issued mandamus in this case."

Smith said the Harney County judge correctly applied the law, remained within the scope of his discretion regarding temporary restraining orders and preliminary injunctions and that the state’s articulation of the law has less to do with precedent and more to do with ending "an enumerated constitutional right under Oregon’s constitution.”

Were the state’s interpretation adopted, Smith wrote in his brief to the Supreme Court, the right to bear arms “would be meaningless.”

Categories:Appeals, Politics, Regional

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