Midterm voters in Oregon narrowly passed one of the toughest gun control laws in the nation, buoying the hopes of gun control supporters. The new permit-to-purchase mandate and ban on high-capacity magazines now faces a lawsuit that could put it on ice just days before it’s set to take effect, the Associated Press reports. A federal judge in Portland will hear oral arguments Friday on whether Measure 114, which is scheduled to go into effect Dec. 8, violates Americans’ constitutionally protected right to bear arms. Depending on the outcome, the groundbreaking law could be delayed for months or longer as it works its way through the courts, legal experts said. The Oregon ballot measure is part of a national trend of gun policy being decided by voters because “significant reform is stalled and that has put all the battles over gun control and gun safety at the state level,” said Adam Winkler, a constitutional law professor and expert in gun policy at the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law.
“Ballot measures are one way for people to seize the reins of policy-making. People can act for themselves to change the law and on an issue like gun safety there is a really growing and active gun safety movement in America,” Winkler said. “That’s not something we probably would have said 20 years ago.” Measure 114, which passed by a slim majority in November, was born out of concern about the 2018 mass shooting in Parkland, Fl. It and gained momentum last spring after massacres at a grocery store in Buffalo, N.Y. and an elementary school in Uvalde, Tx., said Mark Knutson of the interfaith Lift Every Voice Oregon campaign and pastor at Portland’s Augustana Lutheran Church. The biggest legal flash point is a ban on magazines over 10 rounds unless they are owned by law enforcement or a military member or were owned before the measure’s passage. Those who already own high-capacity magazines can possess them only in their homes or use them at a firing range, in shooting competitions or for hunting as allowed by state law after the measure takes effect.