Oregon Gun Sales Surge In Advance Of New Restrictions

Gun sales in Oregon are surging after a ballot initiative restricting purchases narrowly passed in last week’s election with substantial support from out-of-state gun control advocacy groups. The new provisions will become effective across the state on December 8.

Oregon State Police officials report the department is struggling to keep up with the sudden jump in the demand for background checks.

Ballot Measure 114 (BM 114) passed on a statewide vote on ElectionDay by a tight margin, 50.9% to 49.1%.

The new provisions implemented by BM 114 include a mandatory gun purchase permit that will cost $65 and a ban on certain ammo magazines considered “high capacity.” It also requires the state government to maintain a database of all applications for purchase permits.

Applicants for a purchase permit must pass a state-approved gun safety course and submit their fingerprints to be stored in the new database.

The week before Election Day, state police reported receiving around 8,600 requests for the background checks already required for the purchase of a firearm. Last week that number more than doubled to over 18,000.

The sudden increase has led to a large backlog in background check completions. Currently, only 63% of requested checks have been completed.

Ads in favor of BM 114 were largely bankrolled by out-of-state donors. The Safe Schools, Safe Communities PAC spent around $2.4 million in support of the initiative.

Five donors accounted for more than $1.5 million of the money the PAC received to support BM 114. Those include two wealthy Seattle residents, the Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund, the Gabby Giffords gun control organization “Giffords,” and the teachers’ union National Education Association.

Even though BM 114 made it onto the ballot last week, final rules and funding for the new permitting process have not been worked out. Proponents of the initiative are reportedly working with state lawmakers and the state police to set up a committee to address the new requirements.

State police officials reportedly were somehow taken by surprise at how soon BM 114 would go into effect if it passed. They apparently believed that it would not become effective until 30 days after the certification date for the election, December 15. Instead, they are now advised that it will be effective 30 days after the election took place on November 8.