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Oregon interfaith group pushes for full enactment of Measure 114 gun laws

interfaith
Kristian Foden-Vencil / OPB
Interfaith leaders gather at Augustana Lutheran Church in Northeast Portland to generate support to fully enact Measure 114 gun laws.

The interfaith group that wrote and campaigned for Oregon’s new voter-approved gun laws is trying to generate momentum to get them fully enacted.

Measure 114 was passed by voters on a slim margin in November. It bans magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds. It requires a permit to purchase a firearm. And it requires a background check to be completed before a firearm can be transferred.

But a preliminary injunction by a Harney County judge has blocked Measure 114 from going into effect. Four federal lawsuits have also been filed against the new laws.

A Measure 114 chief petitioner, Rev. Mark Knutson of Portland’s Augustana Lutheran Church, led a pre-legislative press conference Wednesday and said he’s not worried about legal challenges.

“We know the courts are going to carry this through,” he said. “We trust that process. We need to make sure the Legislature is bold and make sure it’s implemented the way the people passed it. Because implementation is everything.”

Knutson said they’re particularly focused on ensuring legislators fully fund the new permit to purchase system.

“We are poised and ready to help the Legislature and the state police and others who want to see this implemented well and justly, to show the nation, this can be done,” he said.

Opponents have been especially vocal about the failure of the original measure to outline where funding for the new permitting system would come from. State police provided initial estimates of what it would cost, but the Secretary of State’s office ultimately concluded it was unclear how much would have to be spent to get the new laws in place, versus how much would be saved by the reduction in gun violence.

A full hearing on whether the new regulations are legal under the state constitution has yet to be scheduled in Harney County. The Oregon justice department is already asking for a review of the judge’s rulings in the case so far by the state supreme court.

Supporters hope that Oregon’s passage of Measure 114 acts as a model for the nation. Chief petitioner Marilyn Keller pointed to the passage of a military style weapons ban in Illinois and a large capacity magazine ban in Rhode Island as proof that such laws are possible.

Washington’s governor, Jay Inslee, has also put his legislative weight behind a ban on military-style weapons, requiring a permit to purchase a gun and making gun sellers potentially liable for negligent sales.

“We know that the status quo means more death. More gun violence,” said Rabbi Michael Cahana at the Portland press conference at Augustana Lutheran Church.

“We’ve heard over and over again, enough is enough.”
Copyright 2023 Oregon Public Broadcasting. To see more, visit Oregon Public Broadcasting.

Rabbi Michael Cahana was one of a score of religious leaders at Augustana Lutheran Church on Jan. 11, 2023, calling for Measure 114 gun laws to be fully enacted. “We know that the status quo means more death. More gun violence. And we’ve heard over and over again, enough is enough.”
Kristian Foden-Vencil /
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Rabbi Michael Cahana was one of a score of religious leaders at Augustana Lutheran Church on Jan. 11, 2023, calling for Measure 114 gun laws to be fully enacted. “We know that the status quo means more death. More gun violence. And we’ve heard over and over again, enough is enough.”

Kristian Foden-Vencil is a veteran journalist/producer working for Oregon Public Broadcasting. He started as a cub reporter for newspapers in London, England in 1988. Then in 1991 he moved to Oregon and started freelancing. His work has appeared in publications as varied as The Oregonian, the BBC, the Salem Statesman Journal, Willamette Week, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, NPR and the Voice of America. Kristian has won awards from the Associated Press, Society of Professional Journalists and the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors. He was embedded with the Oregon National Guard in Iraq in 2004 and now specializes in business, law, health and politics.