Illustration by Hanna Oberlander

Oregon Ballot Measure 114 proposes tighter gun control

After high-profile mass shootings, Oregonians consider more regulation

The long and hotly-contested debate about gun control is an extremely polarizing subject that can get emotional for many passionate advocates of both positions across the United States, and Oregon is no exception. Just make a quick search on the internet and you will find multitudes of stories involving shootings and arguments for and against gun control.


In the recent climate of heightened awareness of school shootings after the Uvalde school shooting, it is not that uncommon to find passionate arguments in favor of gun control, especially in Oregon, which has been a source of recent high profile school shootings and attempts at school shootings. School shootings such as the ones that occurred in the Reynolds and Parkrose School Districts have generated political momentum for legislators to create more gun control laws.


This political activity in favor of gun control has resulted in the creation of Measure 114, which will change the laws surrounding the ownership of firearms and the requirements to obtain and purchase firearms. Measure 114 has developed a fierce foundation of support within Grant High School, where many students walked out of class in vocal support of the measure.


Like all controversial topics, there are people who oppose Measure 114. In an interview with KGW News, Kevin Starrett, the executive director of Oregon Firearms Federation, commented on his opposition to the measure. “Ballot Measure 114 will virtually eliminate your ability to protect yourself and your family,” he said. “You may not obtain a firearm for your protection without the permission of your local police chief or sheriff… At a time when violent crime is skyrocketing and police are not responding, this measure will have a devastating effect on our poorest communities and put those in high crime areas in even greater jeopardy.”


In an interview with Portland State Vanguard, a gun shop owner who has requested that both his shop and name be anonymous presented his view on Measure 114. He said that he is “extremely sympathetic to gun control,” and described himself as a “surprisingly moderate position from such an unexpected source.”


Despite the role that Measure 114 will play in regulating his livelihood, he said that he was in favor of the proposed legislative change. “I understand that I’m supposed to be pro-gun ownership and I do consider myself to be a supporter of gun rights overall, but I think it is unreasonable to be so adamantly against gun control that it makes us look unreasonable by comparison,” he said. “But just like government regulations doesn’t automatically mean you’re a socialist country, some gun control measures don’t mean that we have an anti-gun culture or that even the requirements to purchase act of gun is oppressive… as for Measure 114 itself, I find myself moderately against it. I think a few tweaks to the Measure and I would actually find myself supporting it quietly.”


Despite this, he did have concerns about Measure 114 from the perspective of self-defense. “I think the most interesting part of this measure, however, is the 10 round magazine cap,” he said. “Most self-defense situations end very quickly, but a 10 round magazine cap could effectively limit the successes of the defender. What if there was more than one person attacking me at my home, for example? If I’m being attacked in my home by three invaders who will probably have more than 10 rounds in their guns and I’m limited by my 10 round magazine, I’m at the mercy of those unfavorable odds… more importantly, how would this even be regulated for existing guns? Selling them on my side of the deal is easy and I can just sell magazines that have been legally modified to only accept 10 rounds, but for the guns that already exist, cops aren’t going to knock on doors just to check your magazine. A class A misdemeanor will hopefully persuade law-abiding gun owners to get their magazines legally fixed, but for the guns that are illegally owned? A class A misdemeanor isn’t going to mean shit to them when they already got murder planned out.”


He went on to explain his stance on gun crime and gun control as a whole. “Gun control is a necessity, I believe,” he said. “Measure 114 says there will need to be safety training and it requires background checks and I agree with those. There should even be training on the procedures of what to do after you’ve used your firearm to defend yourself. People know the law when it comes to owning and buying guns, but not enough people know what to do after you’ve discharged the gun. I also want there to be more mental health checks. A lot of people who’ve never had a single issue with the law their entire life and who can easily pass background checks will buy a gun from my store and shoot themselves with it in suicide. I’m not in the business to sell death, I’m in the business of saving lives.”


“I’m not opposed to some gun control,” he continued. “But Measure 114 isn’t addressing the real problem, and I hope that legislators will take a serious look at what would actually be effective in letting people become responsible gun owners, and more importantly, helping make sure that unnecessary gun deaths are prevented.”