PORTLAND, Ore. — The Oregon Department of Justice asked a federal judge Sunday to postpone a portion of Measure 114, Oregon's landmark gun control measure passed by voters in November.
In a letter to U.S. District Judge Karin Immergut, the Department of Justice asked for the permit requirement of the measure to be pushed back by two months to give law enforcement more time to implement it.
In the letter, the DOJ said it decided to make the request for a postponement after it heard from local law enforcement that said they would not be able to process permit applications starting Dec. 8, when Measure 114 is set to take effect.
"Postponing the permit requirement by approximately two months should give Oregon law enforcement time to have a fully functional permitting system in place. If Judge Immergut agrees to the postponement, then starting in February anyone who purchases a gun in Oregon will be required to have a permit," said Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum.
Law enforcement leaders, who had said they would need more time to enact the permitting requirements of Measure 114, said that the details of how to establish a new permit system need to be identified.
Eugene Police Chief Chris Skinner, who also serves as the President of the Oregon Association Chiefs of Police, said Monday that municipalities need to sort out staffing, training, technology, and how to administer firearm aptitude tests.
Importantly, Skinner said law enforcement agencies need to create and vet a permit to purchase guns that's used statewide, in order to establish uniformity.
"We want to make sure uniformed application looks the same whether you’re coming to Eugene, Corvallis, or Albany," he said. "It needs to look the same and as of today we have not fully decided or even vetted an application."
Skinner said law enforcement agencies would never have been able to produce a well-constructed and complex permitting system within one month of the November election.
"When the December 8 deadline was communicated to us, I think we all collectively panicked," he said. "As chiefs, this is about trying to put together a really robust, understandable, simple, consistent and equitable process for people — and we’re not in a space where we’re going to meet that deadline."
The letter from the DOJ said other parts of the measure should take effect as scheduled on Dec. 8, "including the process for applying for permits, the restrictions on large capacity magazines, and the requirement that background checks must be completed — and not just requested — before firearms can be transferred."
On Friday, a federal judge heard arguments in a lawsuit that could block Measure 114 from taking effect. On Friday, the judge indicated a decision would not come until sometime this week.