September 28, 2023
The Oregon Firearms Federation published a statement supporting a measure in Columbia County establishing what is generically called a "Second Amendment Sanctuary." The measure passed but will it stand? iStock-884203732
A federal trial on Oregon’s Measure 114 is scheduled to begin June 5. In preparation, noted firearms authority and author Massad Ayoob testified at a pre-trial hearing Tuesday in Portland. (iStock-884203732)

During a pre-trial hearing in Portland Tuesday, in preparation for a scheduled five-day federal court battle to determine the constitutionality of Oregon’s gun control Measure 114, nationally-recognized firearms trainer and author Massad Ayoob told an attorney representing a gun control group why he opposes limits on magazine capacity, according to the Portland Oregonian.

Ayoob, who is also president of the Second Amendment Foundation, was blunt: “On principle, I don’t see supporting a law I know the criminals will never obey.”

Many in the gun rights community think this is the most important thing the gun prohibition movement does not, or simply refuses, to understand. Criminals, by their nature, are lawbreakers, and they will not abide by a law limiting magazine capacity, same as they do not obey other laws.

According to KDRV News, the trial is scheduled to run June 5-9 in federal court in Portland, U.S. District Judge Karin J. Immergut presiding.

Measure 114 is a restrictive gun control initiative that barely passed last November. It was labeled as the “Reduction of Gun Violence Act,” a title and goal which Second Amendment activists are convinced it can never fulfill. The measure drew four separate federal lawsuits involving virtually every major gun rights organization in the country, including the Second Amendment Foundation, National Shooting Sports Foundation, Firearms Policy Coalition, Gun Owners of America, and the National Rifle Association (working through its state affiliate). NRA is not a direct plaintiff in any of the legal actions, while SAF is involved in two of the lawsuits.

The case on the docket is Oregon Firearms Federation, et al. v. (Governor Tina) Kotek, et al.

Measure 114 mandates training, permits to purchase, and background checks for prospective gun buyers and limits magazine capacity. Opponents say such requirements are unconstitutional.

According to the Oregonian report, Ayoob—author of a book considered by many to be the gold standard of self-defense, In The Gravest Extreme—was questioned by attorney Zachary Pekelis, representing the Oregon Alliance on Gun Safety, about magazine capacity. Ayoob explained the necessity of magazines capable of holding more than ten cartridges. In a gun battle, having more rounds in the magazine enables the intended victim to keep fighting.

“Once you run out of ammunition, at that point, you’re helpless,” Ayoob reportedly testified.

He described a large-capacity magazine as an emergency survival tool.

In a telephone conversation with Ayoob, he said a major impact of magazine capacity limits is on handicapped people who may not have the dexterity to be changing magazines in an emergency.

“The impact is on the innocent victim and there’s a huge impact on the handicapped,” he said.

Ayoob reiterated his common-sense perspective: “Only the law-abiding will abide by the law.”

An argument reportedly made in a brief to the court by Portland deputy city attorney Victor Mercado Negro contends the magazine restriction in Measure 114 “will have a direct, positive impact on gun-related crimes and on public health and safety, while continuing to allow the lawful use of firearms for self-defense consistent with the Second Amendment.”

He further argues the city has “a fundamental interest in the safety of its citizens, residents, visitors, and the broader community.”

But do those arguments ignore the new doctrine on Second Amendment cases established by the Supreme Court in its June 2022 Bruen ruling, which does away with the “interest-balancing” aspect of a law and instead focuses on whether there is a historical precedent.

As noted on Page 8 of the Bruen decision, “In keeping with Heller, we hold that when the Second Amendment’s plain text covers an individual’s conduct, the Constitution presumptively protects that conduct. To justify its regulation, the government may not simply posit that the regulation promotes an important interest. Rather, the government must demonstrate that the regulation is consistent with this Nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation.”

Portland’s argument includes concerns about last year’s record-setting homicide count of 101, plus a reported 1,306 shootings. The newspaper said Negro’s brief also alluded to an arrest earlier this year of a 14-year-old boy who allegedly used a semiautomatic handgun with a magazine that held more than 10 rounds. However, a teen in possession of a handgun, committing an assault, is already illegal. Measure 114 would have no direct bearing on that case.

Meanwhile, there is still the state-level case in Harney County which is blocking enforcement of the legislation. The state Supreme Court declined to intervene.

About Dave Workman

Dave Workman is a senior editor at and Liberty Park Press, author of multiple books on the Right to Keep & Bear Arms, and formerly an NRA-certified firearms instructor.Dave Workman

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