Sheriff supports judge’s decision blocking Measure 114

By Sarah Brown
Lebanon Local

Harney County Circuit Court Judge Robert S. Rachio on Nov. 21 determined Measure 114 violated the State of Oregon’s constitution.

A year ago, Measure 114 passed by a narrow 50.6% of votes, reaching the finish line with only 24,972 votes. Of Oregon’s 36 counties, only six approved the measure; they are Multnomah, Washington, Lane, Benton, Lincoln and Hood River. Linn County opposed it with 70% of its voting population.

The law would ban ammunition magazines holding more than 10 rounds, require a safety firearms class and permit in order to purchase firearms, and require a background check be completed before the sale or transfer of a gun.

Linn County Sheriff Michelle Duncan immediately took a stance against the measure the following day, posting a reaction on the Linn County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page, stating, “This is a terrible law for gun owners, crime victims, and public safety.”

In December 2022, Rachio blocked the measure, declaring it was unconstitutional, but U.S. District Judge Karen Immergut overturned that ruling. Her decision is being appealed to the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Meanwhile, plaintiffs pursued a separate case stating Measure 114 violates the State of Oregon’s constitution, to which Rachio agreed. He wrote in his opinion letter that “Any finding by the court that Ballot Measure 114’s permit-to-purchase program or large capacity magazine ban increases public safety would be merely speculative and was unsupported by the facts at trial.”

It is expected that Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum will appeal the decision.

Sheriff Duncan said she agreed with Raschio’s decision.

“It creates a burdensome process and restrictions for those wanting to protect themselves and families,” Duncan said.

“If at some point, because of higher court rulings, Measure 114 does go into effect, my stance has not changed and my office will not enforce the capacity limitations on magazines. I do not believe our citizens want me spending their tax dollars on making someone a criminal simply because they have a standard issue magazine with their firearm that they have a constitutional right to own. I fully support a responsible, lawful citizen to exercise their Second Amendment if they choose to do so.”

The Sheriff’s Office will continue using its limited resources to focus on burglaries, thefts, assaults and more serious crimes, Duncan said. She emphasized, however, that she does not dismiss the “tragedies” of mass shootings.

“We need to look at the cause, not the tool of these tragedies,” she said. “We need to address the mental health and addiction crises. We also need to hold the criminals accountable for their actions.”