The following is a statement released Sunday morning from Sheriff Kaber
The last release from this office concerning Ballot Measure 114 and implications to lawful firearms owners was almost a month ago. We have not issued more public updates due to the ever-changing stream of confusing and inaccurate information and the unfortunate fact that no clear answers were available. In the meantime, our office has been following developments and offering input in order to be able to react as quickly as possible should a court challenge not result in an injunction to BM114, and the permitting system remains a requirement beginning December 8th, 2022. In order to administer a permit system, we will need to hire staff and make other costly modifications to provide a way for people to obtain a permit to legally purchase firearms. Despite the fact that I believe this to be an unconstitutional requirement, if we don’t put a permit system in place then we will be depriving you the pathway to purchase firearms in the future; which is not my goal.
According to the measure, the Oregon State Police has been given the responsibility to develop the permit system, write administrative rules, and prepare for the onslaught of criminal background and fingerprint checks that will begin cascading in next week. They sound confident in their published statements, but the reality is the system is not capable of handling the sheer increase in requests as evidenced by the tremendous backlog in the firearm purchase queue. If you’re a firearms purchaser trying to buy a gun before the law takes effect you are already aware of what this means.
On Friday, December 2nd, I attended the US District Court hearing in Portland regarding the first legal challenge to BM114 by the Oregon Firearms Federation, several gun store owners, and three Oregon sheriffs. I went to support those who have signed on to the lawsuit and to learn the details of three other suits recently filed in Federal Court challenging the assault on the 2nd Amendment. It’s been publicly reported today that Judge Karin Immergut expects to issue her opinion regarding an injunction by next Monday or Tuesday, just days before the measure takes effect. I wanted to support this particular lawsuit because I was proud of their efforts to be first to challenge the measure. It does appear that all of the lawsuits filed afterward have the same opinion and I can report that the plaintiffs and their lawyers are all working in concert at some level each hoping one or all of them are successful in a future court trial regarding the constitutionality of BM114. I can also say that the entire country is watching these lawsuits and that was apparently not lost on Judge Immergut.
If an injunction (stay) is not granted, I ask for patience as we spool up our effort and staff a program to provide the service you will need in order to gain a purchase permit. Until then we will be using available staff and modifying our Concealed Handgun License process to help us get started. I expect there to be a virtual explosion of requests across Oregon that will paralyze the State’s ability to process fingerprint check requests and it will grind to a halt quickly. I also anticipate that when we are able to get a program running smoothly it will take a year to issue the first round of permits to every Klamath County citizen that applies for one.
In reply to those who have been asking if the Klamath County Sheriff’s Office will “enforce” this new law, I’d like to clarify my position. The permit system is one facet of the law that requires a permit for a citizen to legally purchase a firearm. It isn’t something that we can enforce or not enforce, it either is in place and we administer it or you cannot legally buy a firearm. We will do what we need to do to not infringe on your right to possess or purchase firearms. The second part of the law makes it illegal to purchase or possess a firearm magazine having a round capacity of more than “10,” with some exceptions for magazines already owned prior to Dec. 8 and in certain places such as on your property or at a range. The Klamath County Sheriff’s Office will not support the enforcement of the magazine capacity ban – regardless of the judge’s decision.
Sheriff Chris Kaber