Local government

Sheriff says gun measure won’t make the state a safer place

VALE – A proposed gun measure on the November ballot will create more layers of bureaucracy and increase the workload for police, said Brian Wolfe, Malheur County sheriff.
Oregon Measure 114 will change the state’s existing framework to own or buy a firearm. The measure will require permits issued by police to buy a gun and compel Oregonians to acquire a photo ID, be fingerprinted, conduct gun safety training and be subject to a criminal background check. The proposed law will also require a $65 payment to apply for the permit, said Wolfe. The permit, he said, would be valid for five years.
The measure also restricts the manufacturing, importing, buying or selling ammunition magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds and makes a violation of that mandate a class A misdemeanor.
Wolfe said the proposed law is ridiculous and he opposes it.
“We have so many gun laws as it is now. They say it is for public safety and I don’t think it will make us any safer,” said Wolfe.
The measure, if passed by voters, will also generate more costs for agencies like the sheriff’s office, said Wolfe.
“It is going to put an undue burden on all law enforcement to train people and issue licenses. There will be a huge cost,” he said.
The sheriff’s office, he said will be in charge of the fingerprinting and photo portions of the new law. The Oregon State Police will issue the permits.
That, in turn, means Wolfe’s office may have to find a way to hire more employees at a time when it is struggling to fill vacancies.
“We already have openings in every division of the sheriff’s office,” said Wolfe.
Measure 114 is supported by a large coalition of religious organizations, unions and political organizations.
Wolfe said the measure “does nothing.”
“I oppose anything that I think is contrary to the Constitution of the United States,” said Wolfe.
Wolfe said restrictive gun laws in places like Chicago and the District of Columbia don’t work.
“Look at their crime rates. They’re out of control. All the gun laws they have there don’t make them a safe place to be,” said Wolfe.
Wolfe said, though, that he expects the measure to be approved by voters.
“Then I think it will be ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court,” said Wolfe.
Chicago did at one time prohibit the sale of firearms within city limits but a federal judge ruled the mandate unconstitutional in 2014. The Chicago City Council later passed a law that allowed gun stores but banned them from certain areas of the city where all sales of firearms were to be videotaped. The law also restricted buyers to one weapon in a 30-day period.
In 2017, a federals appeals court ruled that law was unconstitutional.
In June, the Supreme Court scuttled a New York state law that strictly regulated who could obtain a permit to carry a firearm in public. Under a more than 100-year-old law, New York residents had to show cause and or a need to carry a concealed weapon in public for defense.
The court asserted the law violates the Second Amendment.
Lift Every Voice Oregon is the lead sponsor of the measure. A fact sheet produced by the organization asserts the new measure will create safer schools and communities with background checks and a limit on large-capacity magazines. The measure, according to the fact sheet, will reduce homicides, suicides, gun trafficking and police shootings.
The NRA opposes the measure calling the proposed law “the nation’s most extreme gun control initiative.”
News tip? Contact reporter Pat Caldwell at [email protected].

EXCELLENCE IN JOURNALISM – Available for $7.50 a month. Subscribe to the digital service of the Enterprise and get the very best in local journalism. We report with care, attention to accuracy, and an unwavering devotion to fairness. Get the kind of news you’ve been looking for – day in and day out from the Enterprise.