City Folk v. Country Folk: Oregon
Many rural voters in Oregon discovered that the November 2022 midterm elections were far more than a vote for their state representatives. The unfortunate Measure 114 passed with 50.7 percent in favor and 49.3 percent opposed, with opposition stemming from rural counties. In fact, opposition was so strong in rural counties that even local sheriffs said they would not enforce the measure, standing behind the voters of their districts. So why are country folk so against this measure recently passed by city folk? Let’s find out together.
In an effort to keep up with New York and California, Oregon lawmakers created Measure 114, naively believing that criminals would abide by its strict rules. However, the only people who will go to such lengths to obtain and carry firearms for self-defense are those who abide by these laws, however draconian they may be. Well, this measure falls right in line with some of the strictest gun-control states in the nation. Measure 114 would:
- Require a permit issued by local law enforcement to buy a firearm
- Require photo ID, fingerprints, safety training, criminal background check and fee payment to apply for a permit
- Prohibit manufacturing, importing, purchasing, selling, possessing, using or transferring ammunition magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds and make violations a Class A misdemeanor
These are just the main components of the measure. Measure 114 would also input your personal information into a statewide “registry” that is published annually. It would require law enforcement to “maintain a registry” of gun owners’ personal information as it appears in their permit applications, “including [an] applicant’s legal name, current address and telephone number, date and place of birth, physical description, fingerprints, pictures, and any additional information determined necessary by law enforcement.”
Opposition [to Measure 114] was so strong in rural counties that even local sheriffs said they would not enforce the measure, standing behind the voters of their districts
But there is a speckle of good news wrapped up as a Christmas gift for the country folk. It comes in the form of the United States judicial system and the people brave enough to stand up in the face of unconstitutional forces. After a few different court appearances and some back-and-forth between Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum and a multitude of judges, there is a temporary restraining order in place, preventing the law from going into effect. This is where I highlight the previous usage of the word “speckle.” The court is still set to hear arguments from the gun-control sector of the state, so the fight is not over. It is looking as though Oregon, New York and New Jersey are all in a race to see who can make it to the Supreme Court first. May the odds be ever in the country folk’s favor.
Ballotpedia.org, NRAILA.org, OregonCapitalChronicle.com
Trouble in Paradise: Hawaii
The sun, the sand and a permit ban. I suppose the only silver lining when visiting the beautiful island of Hawaii, sans your firearm, is that nobody else there has one either. I am, of course, being a tad overdramatic. However, the state does make it incredibly difficult for Hawaiians to obtain a permit or a gun. And once you have both, you can only carry your firearm within the confines of your own county, and each county is tasked with writing its own rules for the permitting process.
Furthermore, since the Supreme Court decision in the NYSPRA v. Bruen case, Hawaiian lawmakers and county officials have struggled with the rule-making process, preventing citizens from obtaining their permits. For example, Hawaii County Police have only issued 64 permits in the time between Aug. 24 and Dec. 5, 2022, almost a 4-month period.
The state does make it incredibly difficult for Hawaiians to obtain a permit or a gun. And once you have both, you can only carry your firearm within the confines of your own county.
In addition to the lack of permit issuance, many pending applications are being denied based on some of these new rules. According to Andrew Namiki Roberts, of the Hawaii Firearms Coalition, in Honolulu, “It says you have to have taken the shooting class within 90 days preceding your application, which means that you can’t retroactively do the shooting class [if you] have already applied.” This would require a denial of the pending application and a total restart of the process, further delaying the concealed carry permit.
If such mass confusion were not enough, lawmakers in several counties are currently proposing, or have already proposed and passed, legislation on “sensitive locations.” Honolulu is on the list of proposed legislation with Bill 57, further restricting locations to carry. And Hawaii County Council has already passed and put into law Bill 220 on Dec. 9, 2022. This bill restricts the carrying of any firearm, regardless of permit, in:
- Hospitals and other medical facilities
- Schools and universities
- Daycare centers, playgrounds and parks
- Churches and religious assemblies (unless permission is granted)
- Voter service centers
- Government buildings and the accompanying parking lots
- Private property open to the public if signs are posted
- Any form of public transit
- Any place where alcohol is served for public consumption
Hopefully there are some Second Amendment supporters who own businesses on the island so citizens can carry their firearms somewhere other than in their vehicles.
Assault on Our Rights: Illinois
As violence has surged among criminals and gangs in Chicago, Illinois lawmakers have decided to remove from citizens many forms of firearms commonly used in self-defense. That makes total sense, right? If you caught on to the sarcasm there, then sit tight as I go through the new bills that recently passed in the gun-control stronghold that is the Illinois state legislative body.
HB 5522 and HB 5471, or the Protect Illinois Communities Act, sponsored by Maura Hirschauer (D-Batavia), amends a 2012 criminal code, making it “unlawful to deliver, sell or purchase or cause to be delivered, sold or purchased or cause to be possessed by another, an assault weapon, assault weapon attachment, .50-caliber rifle or .50-caliber cartridge.” So, what exactly does this legal jargon mean for Illinoisans? Well, it would effectively make it unlawful to buy, sell or possess:
- Semi-automatic, centerfire, magazine-fed rifles, including all AR- and AK-pattern rifles and pistols
- Magazines that hold more than 10 rounds for rifles
- .50-caliber rifles and ammunition
- Magazines that hold more than 15 rounds for pistols/handguns
In addition to these bans, HB 5522 would also require owners of already purchased semi-automatic, centerfire, magazine-fed rifles to register them in a statewide registry. It also bans anyone under the age of 21 from obtaining a Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) card.
HB 5522 would also require owners of already purchased semi-automatic, centerfire, magazine-fed rifles to register them in a statewide registry.
This legislative focus on so-called assault weapons would lead one to believe that rifles are the tool of choice for criminals in Illinois, right? Well, it’s actually an epidemic of illegally modified handguns that Chicago Police credit with growing violence in the city and beyond.
“Switches that make single-action weapons fully automatic as well as the high-capacity magazines that hold more bullets in them with an extended clip has been really the dynamic that’s changed how shootings and how victimization occurs,” Chicago Police Supt. David Brown told the Chicago Sun-Times. “Not just here, but everywhere in the country has seen just an explosion of switches and high-capacity magazines.”
The desire to ban semi-automatic rifles deemed “assault weapons” stems from political backlash when an evil perpetrator uses one in a mass shooting. But as it has been shown time and time again, gang members, criminals and those who seek to do harm will break all laws regarding guns, leaving law-abiding citizens defenseless.
On Jan. 10, 2023, Gov. Pritzker officially signed the legislation into law, and it goes into effect immediately. There will be a “grace period” for citizens who already own these weapons to register them with the state. If you would like to fight back against this new law, you can reach out to any of your local gun-rights organizations, as many of them have already vowed to file lawsuits against the state.
NRAILA.org, ChicagoBusiness.com, Chicago Sun-Times
Midwest Mayhem: Ohio
Constitutional carry has rolled along nicely in the Buckeye state since its passing in June 2022, but some lawmakers are looking to add additional restrictions to current Ohio gun laws. In November 2022, lawmakers in the capital city introduced three proposals described as “common-sense gun safety legislation.” These proposals are meant for Columbus city residents and visitors alike. These proposals would:
- Ban magazines that can hold more than 30 rounds
- Prohibit selling, giving, lending or furnishing of a firearm to an individual who is prohibited to receive it
- Penalize individuals who do not use specific storage when minors are present
Columbus’ mayor and many in the city council are pushing these proposals, while others have criticized them as “political posturing.” Executive Director Dean Rieck of the Buckeye Firearms Association said, “I don’t think most crime in most cities are committed with anything other than handguns, which is something that’s been true for a long time. They just don’t like ARs and they want to ban them.” The proposals are still being considered, and Columbus City Council is giving the public the opportunity to voice their opinions.
“I don’t think most crime in most cities are committed with anything other than handguns, which is something that’s been true for a long time. They just don’t like ARs and they want to ban them.”
In a separate, statewide piece of legislation, SB 357 is also being considered among legislators. Sponsored by Sen. Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls), SB 357 focuses mostly on mental health and “red flag” laws. This bill would:
- Allow a probate judge to issue a safety protection order directing local law enforcement to retrieve and temporarily hold the firearms
- Require a co-signer on purchases made by 18- to 20-year-olds
- Create a seller’s protection certificate for a private gun sale
- Enhance background check databases by requiring that critical information be added into state and federal law enforcement databases by the close of the next business day
- Direct funds from the American Rescue Plan to mental health workers and facilities
No-Go in Montgomery County: Maryland
As if Maryland laws were not strict enough, one county has decided to one-up the rest of the state. While the “assault weapons” ban is currently being considered as unconstitutional in appeals courts, Montgomery County has decided to proactively prohibit law-abiding citizens, and even legal Wear and Carry permit holders, from carrying their firearms in most public settings. After a unanimous vote, it is now illegal to possess a firearm in or near schools, parks, libraries, healthcare facilities and places of worship and within 100 yards of a public assembly.
In the most accurate statement made recently regarding gun-control legislation, the NRA Institute for Legislative Action writes that “council members do not cite a single instance of a Wear and Carry permit holder being a perpetrator and how this would stop and disarm criminals possessing firearms illegally.” We can only hope that individuals looking to do harm in any of these public settings first make sure they are abiding by the new laws. Or perhaps these individuals now know where they are less likely to be stopped by law-abiding gun owners.