Faced with thousands of pending background checks for gun sales and no way to put a new "permit to purchase" scheme in place by Thursday, Oregon officials are waving a white flag-- for now at least.

Oregon's Measure 114, which among other things mandates an expanded background check process to include potential gun buyers first obtaining a permit permission slip from local law enforcement before the purchase can take place, was made law by a narrow 50.6 percent of the vote last month, drawn largely from the state's progressive urban centers in Portland and Eugene. Immediately challenged by numerous 2A groups-- no less than five legal cases are pending-- the  Oregon Department of Justice on Sunday informed the federal judge weighing at least four of the cases that the state wants to push the pause button on the permitting plan. 

"Postponing the permit requirement by approximately two months should give Oregon law enforcement time to have a fully functional permitting system in place," said state Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum in a statement. "If Judge Immergut agrees to the postponement, then starting in February anyone who purchases a gun in Oregon will be required to have a permit."

With the very real likelihood that gun sales would have been halted on Dec. 8 as no permitting program exists-- or was even funded by the state's Democrat-controlled legislature-- residents have been hitting the gun counter hard since Measure 114 passed. This has caused the state-run Firearms Instant Check System to back up with the number of delayed checks at an all-time high, with only about 63 percent submitted for the month of November approved. 

"Since November 8, 2022, the FICS unit has experienced unprecedented volumes of firearms transactions never seen before in the program’s 26-year history," said the Oregon State Police in a release last Friday. 

Besides the controversial permit-to-purchase plan, Measure 114 also included a mandate to only transfer firearms after an approved background check is completed-- cutting out the standard "default to proceed" practice on delayed checks after three business days on a federal NICS check. Another hot-button item in the ballot initiative is a ban on magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition. Rosenblum told Judge Immergut that those elements of the ballot initiative could take effect on Dec. 8.

The Oregon Firearms Federation, which is backing one of the cases against Measure 114, argues there is a giant flaw with that. 

As OFF’s lawyer Leonard Williamson has pointed out: 

“The AG is mistaken in that Plaintiffs challenging the magazine ban are not affected by their request to postpone implementation of the permit to purchase system. Presently OSP has 34,790 people waiting on the background check list waiting for a firearm, that they have already paid for, to clear the system. Some % of those sales are firearms that included as part of the sale standard capacity magazines (large capacity) e.g., the Glock 19 comes with three 15 round mags). Meaning if the ban on magazines takes effect on 12/8/22, and the permit system is suspended, the gun shop owners can not allow the customer to leave with their standard capacity magazines i.e., an unlawful government taking of property without due process. Second, what the government is saying is that gun dealers may only sell guns with magazines that only hold ten rounds. That is a very small group of firearms.” 

Measure 114 enjoyed a $2.7 million war chest supplied by tech billionaires and anti-gun groups, against a more modest opposition from grassroots 2A organizations that were able to raise $165,000 to campaign against it.

Banner image: ATI Galeo Galil ARM clone, one of the many firearms whose standard capacity magazine is banned under Oregon's Measure 114. (Photo: Chris Eger/Guns.com)

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