Oregon Sheriffs Won’t Enforce New Gun Law: ‘Violates Second Amendment’

County sheriffs in Oregon are taking a stand against the state’s newly passed gun law, saying they will not enforce a key portion of the law limiting magazine capacity because it violates the Second Amendment, wastes law enforcement resources, and is the product of “pure anti-weapons policy”

Measure 114, known as the Reduction of Gun Violence Act, was passed by Oregon voters in last week’s midterm elections. The new law bans ammunition magazines holding more than 10 rounds and requires police to maintain an electronic, searchable database of all firearms permits, provide additional hands-on firearms training, and collect fingerprints from individuals before issuing permits to purchase a gun.

But at least five county sheriffs say they won’t enforce all or part of the law, and they’re focusing their opposition on language that limits the capacity of magazines. They argue that the provision violates Second Amendment rights, ignores real gun violence issues in the state, and will drain already depleted law enforcement resources.

“The biggest thing is that this does absolutely nothing to solve the problem,” Union County Sheriff Cody Bowen told Fox News Digital. “The problem we have is not … the capacity of the magazine. There are no background checks. It’s a problem with mental health awareness. It’s a behavioral health problem.”

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Young woman shooting a rifle with a high capacity magazine at a shooting range.

Young woman shooting a rifle with a high capacity magazine at a shooting range.
(Ryan Houston via Getty Images)

“Our society as a whole is a bigger problem than saying the guns are killing people,” he said.

Bowen said enforcing magazine capacity limits just isn’t impossible. “There’s just no way for us to enforce that, and I wouldn’t do it just because it’s a violation of our Second Amendment, you know, our right to keep and bear arms,” ​​he said.

When asked to respond to supporters of the measure, who claimed it would curb gun violence in the state, Bowen said it was “100% inaccurate”.

“If you think this measure will reduce school shootings or gun violence, unfortunately you are wrong,” he said. “But what has worked [to work] over and over again is… supporting your law enforcement, responsible gun ownership, teaching our children respect for human life at a younger age. We have to fall back on that,” Bowen explained.

Oregon already requires a background check on gun sales, but Measure 114 would duplicate the process, according to the Oregon State Sheriffs Association. It would also require local police departments to create and fund permitting programs.

Measure 114 is likely to be challenged in court, as the Supreme Court recently ordered the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to reconsider its decision upholding a similar magazine ban in California.

Measure 114 is likely to be challenged in court, as the Supreme Court recently ordered the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to reconsider its decision upholding a similar magazine ban in California.
(AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

Bowen added that neither he nor his colleagues were consulted on the measure, nor were funds allocated to meet the staffing needs that enforcement of the law would require.

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Linn County Sheriff Michelle Duncan shared a similar message in a Nov. 9 Facebook post: “I want to send a clear message to Linn County residents that the Linn County Sheriff’s Office will NOT be enforcing magazine capacity limits.”

“This policy is poorly written and there is still a lot to be clarified in terms of the approval process, who needs to deliver the training and what exactly the training needs to cover,” Duncan said. She said she wants to “ensure that nothing we do or don’t do intentionally or unintentionally interferes with gun owners’ right to purchase firearms,” ​​and hopes the action will be met with an “immediate lawsuit.”

Malheur County Sheriff Brian Wolfe said enforcing the new law, which will go into effect next year, is “not a priority or even really a big consideration” for his department.

Linn County Sheriff Michelle Duncan wrote: "I want to send a clear message to the residents of Linn County that the Linn County Sheriff's Office will NOT be enforcing magazine capacity restrictions."

Sheriff Michelle Duncan of Linn County wrote, “I want to send a clear message to the residents of Linn County that the Linn County Sheriff’s Office will NOT be enforcing magazine capacity limits.”
(Fox News Digital)

Wolfe explained that much of his department’s resources are focused on the rise in drug-related crimes due to the decriminalization of “hard drugs” like methamphetamine and heroin.

“It would distract from the things we do every day to keep people safe,” Wolf said. “Prohibiting people from owning guns isn’t going to help, in my opinion. We will make it harder for people to buy self-defense weapons.”

Only six of Oregon’s 36 counties voted to pass Measure 114. In Malheur County, the majority voted against the measure by a nearly 6-to-1 ratio.

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Jefferson County Sheriff Jason Pollock echoed those sentiments in a Sunday letter to Jefferson County residents, saying the measure was “purely anti-gun policy.”

As of Tuesday, November 14, 2022, citizens in 29 Oregon counties have voted against Measure 114.  A new rule in the state allows ballots postmarked on Election Day to be counted even if they don't reach polling officials for several days.

As of Tuesday, November 14, 2022, citizens in 29 Oregon counties have voted against Measure 114. A new rule in the state allows ballots postmarked on Election Day to be counted even if they don’t reach polling officials for several days.

“Oregon’s criminal justice system is facing a crisis because leftist elements in Salem have refused to criminalize it[s] responsible for their conduct,” Pollock wrote. “Baning high-capacity magazines only turns law-abiding citizens into criminals. Assuming that limiting magazines to 10 rounds will get you to safety is one of the most ignorant statements ever made.”

“The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office will not enforce Measure 114,” Pollock added.

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The Sherman County Sheriff’s Office will also not enforce the measure, a department spokesman told Willamette Week.

Given the Supreme Court’s recent order from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the measure is likely to face swift litigation to revise his judgement Maintaining a similar magazine ban in California.

“Unfortunately, that’s going to cost Oregon time and money, and it’s going to impact Oregon citizens, law-abiding citizens,” Kerry Spurgin, president of the Oregon State Shooting Association, previously told Fox News Digital.

The bill is already expected to cost local governments $49 million annually, though the permit fees would bring in as much as $19.5 million annually, based on an estimated 300,000 annual applications, according to the state sheriff’s association.

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