November 2, 2022 – The 2022 midterm elections are next Tuesday, November 8, 2022, and early voting has commenced in many states. Although politicians have dominated the news cycle, it is important to remember that other laws and initiatives are also on the ballot. In two states – Iowa and Oregon – citizens will vote on proposed firearm laws that illustrate the deep divide on firearm policy in the United States.
In Iowa, citizens will have an opportunity to pass Amendment 1, which will amend the Iowa State Constitution to make the right to keep and bear arms a fundamental individual right under state law. The proposed constitutional amendment further provides that “any and all restrictions on this right [to keep and bear arms] shall be subject to strict scrutiny.” Strict scrutiny is the highest standard applied by courts to determine whether a law is constitutional, and would require that laws intended to restrict access to firearms be necessary to achieve a compelling state interest, and ensure that any such laws are narrowly tailored to avoid unwarranted restrictions. Under this standard, overreaching restrictions on firearm rights are more likely to be struck down as being unconstitutional. Some critics of the amendment, however, argue that it improperly regulates the courts’ interpretation of the law. If the proposed constitutional amendment is enacted, Iowa will cement one of the strongest protections of the right to keep and bear arms into its state constitution. 
In contrast to Iowa’s Amendment 1, citizens of Oregon will vote on Measure 114, which would require all firearm purchasers to obtain a permit before they are lawfully permitted to buy a firearm. The measure would make Oregon the fifteenth state requiring a permit before purchasing a firearm. To obtain a firearm permit, purchasers in Oregon would be required to pay a fee, submit fingerprints and a photo ID, pass a background check, and attend a live-fire safety course approved by the state police.  The proposed law would make Oregon the first and only state to require that prospective firearm owners attend a live-fire safety class before being granted a permit to buy any firearm. In addition, Measure 114 would also prohibit the manufacture, possession, transfer, or sale of magazines capable of holding more than ten rounds, and would make any violation of the law a class A misdemeanor. Oregon would be the thirteenth state (including Washington DC) to enact a “large capacity magazine” ban.
Renzulli Law Firm, LLP encourages all to vote on November 8, and to be aware of firearm related proposals on the ballot in your jurisdiction. We will continue to monitor and report on new and developing firearms legislation and regulations around the country.  If you have any questions concerning firearms related legislation or regulations, please contact John F. Renzullior Christopher Renzulli.