Oregon gun laws will largely be unaffected

In the wake of yesterday's Supreme Court ruling, there's been a lot of uncertainty about the status of national, state, and local gun laws.

In Oregon, at least, there won't be much effect - because of our state constitutional protection of the right to bear arms. From the Statesman-Journal:

Little is expected to change in Oregon as a result of a U.S. Supreme Court decision Thursday declaring an individual right to own firearms. ...

"This is exactly what we expected," said Rod Harder of Salem, Oregon representative of the National Rifle Association and a lobbyist for the Oregon State Shooting Association. "It does not really change anything in Oregon."

The Supreme Court struck down a ban on handgun ownership in Washington, D.C., deciding 5-4 that there is an individual right of ownership under the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The Oregon Constitution has a similar guarantee, but it is less ambiguous than the federal one.

The state right, which dates back to the original 1857 document: "The people shall have the right to bear arms for the defence (sic) of themselves, and the state, but the military shall be kept in strict subordination to the civil power."

Stephanie Soden, a spokeswoman for Attorney General Hardy Myers, said lawyers for the Oregon Department of Justice were reviewing the decision.

"But at first blush, it appears that there is no immediate effect on Oregon," she said. "Our constitutions are worded similarly. There is an individual right to bear arms, but it does not preclude government from imposing restrictions to promote the safety of the public."

There's more from the Oregonian.


  • Gordon Morehouse (unverified)

    My take on the ruling is that cities -- probably the most likely entities in Oregon to be passing strict gun control measures -- won't be able to enact blanket bans on handguns or really any type of gun that someone may reasonably own elsewhere today in America.

    They'll still be able to enact common sense gun control measures that make sense for that city or county.

    There are plenty of posters here who are in favor of greater regulation of guns. I'd ask you to consider this: if this is a pet issue for you, by all means, try to change the law! But do everybody a favor and instead of focusing on feel-good measures, focus on mandatory education for gun purchasers, more education and perhaps competence testing for concealed carry holders, and measures requiring the sale and demonstration of locking devices (or proof of ownership of a qualifying gun safe) with every firearm purchase.

    Like a lot of other causes we progressives hold near and dear, education goes a long way -- much further than you might think when it comes to responsible firearms ownership.

    With guns in America, the cat is out of the bag. Education and proper storage are the best ways to handle the situation without abridging civil liberties.

  • anonymous (unverified)

    I am pleased the Supreme court simply interpreted the constitution. If new circumstances require restricting gun ownership then there is a remedy. Congress needs the courage to amend.

  • Bob Tiernan (unverified)

    Gordon Morehouse:

    They'll still be able to enact common sense gun control measures that make sense for that city or county.

    Bob T:

    But 2nd Amendment haters have been saying for decades that bans were common sense controls. Now they've been properly punched in the nose.

    Bob Tiernan

  • Bob Tiernan (unverified)


    If new circumstances require restricting gun ownership then there is a remedy. Congress needs the courage to amend.

    Bob T:

    "Courage"? If there are circumstances that would require restricting gun ownership, then isn't it possible to have circumstances requiring restricting dissent? Think of Tom Civilletti's defense of Castro and Chavez squashing dissent of anyone who might speak out against government policies that "have the people's interest" as a priority.

    Gosh, I hope that doesn't happen here.

    Bob Tiernan

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)


    That's not my position, and if you look back, I believe you will find nothing close to that in my words.

  • Steve (unverified)

    The Supreme Court has finally seen the second amendment as a right belonging to the Individual and not as support for a Militia.

    Now we need to dismantle the Privilege mentality that has weighed this "RIGHT" down with red tape. As a "RIGHT", it can no longer be rented, leased, earned or bestowed. It is a RIGHT, as is free speech, its only restriction is its unlawful use against Innocent victims, as free speech has against yelling fire in a crowed room when there is no fire or harming one by slander...

    We learned that prohibition against alcohol did not work. But Very high penalties for drinking and driving does have an effect on drunk driving in proportion to the strictness of law...

    <h2>We will now have to focus on increasing penalties for using a gun in the commission of a crime instead of denying gun rights to law abiding citizens...</h2>
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