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Measure 114 remains blocked after Oregon Supreme Court denies petition

The gun control measure remains blocked until a lower court holds a hearing.

PORTLAND, Ore. — The Oregon Supreme Court has denied the Oregon Attorney General's petition to overturn a Harney County judge's injunction and allow Measure 114 to go into effect.

The gun control measure remains blocked until a lower court holds a hearing.

In its ruling Thursday morning, the state supreme court said, "Our decision today does not serve as a bar to any future challenge in this court or otherwise an appeal."

Measure 114 closes the so-called "Charleston loophole" by requiring background checks to be completed, not just started, before firearms are transferred. It also includes a ban on high-capacity magazines and creates a new permitting system for all gun purchases

"We recognize that the legal status of Measure 114 is of significant concern to many Oregonians," the state Supreme Court said Thursday. "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. 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."

Advocates for the law expressed disappointment but also acknowledged that the law must go through the process of settling legal challenges before it's implemented.

"It's frustrating, but we also want to make sure that our legislators who have the responsibility for the implementation understand that the people of Oregon voted for this and the people of Oregon want to see a change. The status quo is killing people," said Michael Cahana, senior rabbi at Temple Beth Israel and a leader with Lift Every Voice Oregon, the group that got Measure 114 on the ballot.

The Oregon Firearms Federation, which brought this lawsuit against Measure 114, came out with a positive response to the news that the law would remain blocked, writing in part, "Today the Oregon Supreme Court sided with the Constitution and refused to overturn the Harney County Judge ... This is a massive win."

Voters narrowly approved Measure 114 in November. It was set to go into effect in December, but gun rights groups challenged it in court and argued that it violates the Oregon Constitution.

In January, Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum petitioned the Oregon Supreme Court to allow at least part of the measure to go into effect after Harney County Circuit Court Judge Robert S. Raschio ultimately blocked all parts of the measure in a series of rulings in December.

The Oregon Attorney General's office previously asked the Oregon Supreme Court to intervene after Judge Raschio initially halted the measure. The state Supreme Court declined to intervene then as well.

Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum expressed frustration with the high court's decision, tweeting, "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. We intend to continue to defend the law zealously in the Harney County court."

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