November 17, 2022 – In the wake of Election Day 2022, at least two new restrictions on the Second Amendment are poised to be enacted. Oregon voters passed a ballot measure that would restrict firearm ownership and ban “large capacity” magazines, and Montgomery County, Maryland passed a new version of an invalidated state law.
Oregon voters have narrowly approved Measure 114, which authorizes the state to create a “permit-to-purchase” system and bans magazines that hold more than ten rounds of ammunition.
Oregon residents will not be able to purchase any firearm without a permit. Obtaining a permit will require completing a firearm safety class that includes hands-on instruction with a firearm and submitting to a federal criminal background check. Permits are issued by the police chief or county sheriff with jurisdiction over the individual’s residence, and should not be issued if an individual presents:
reasonable grounds for a permit agent to conclude that the applicant has been or is reasonably likely to be a danger to self or others, or to the community at large, as a result of the applicant’s mental or psychological state or as demonstrated by the applicant’s past pattern of behavior involving unlawful violence or threats of unlawful violence.
The law also requires state police to create and maintain a searchable database of all permits issued. The Oregon Sheriff’s Association estimated that agencies would have to spend more than $40 million in the first year alone to develop and maintain the database, as well as handle permit applications. Measure 114 does not provide any additional funding for law enforcement, which has lead at least one Oregon Sheriff to raise concerns that the measure puts a financial strain on law enforcement agencies that they cannot absorb.
Laws that put the onus on law enforcement to determine whether there are “reasonable grounds” to deny an application for a firearms permit have been criticized or struck down by courts, including the Supreme Court, and it is likely that Measure 114 will face similar challenges.
Montgomery County, Maryland’s most populous county and a direct suburb of DC, passed a law that restricts the possession of firearms within 100 yards of a place of public assembly. The County law is modeled after a similar Maryland State law that was one of many invalidated by the Supreme Court’s decision in Bruen.
Montgomery County hopes to overcome challenges to the law by defining a “place of public assembly” and providing exemptions for law enforcement officers and firearms owned in homes that may be within a restricted area.
However, the definition of a “place of public assembly” is vague and includes “a place where the public may assemble, whether the place is publicly or privately owned,” and “a gathering of individuals to collectively express their constitutional right to protest or assemble.” The law is expected to be challenged on the grounds that it unconstitutionally limits an individual’s right to carry a firearm for self-defense, in violation of the Bruen standard.
Renzulli Law Firm, LLP 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. Renzulli or Christopher Renzulli.