June 20, 2023

Sportsmen’s Coalition Files Amicus Brief in Legal Challenge to Oregon’s Measure 114; Arguments Heard in Federal Court

Why It Matters: Oregon’s law-abiding hunters and recreational shooters have long played a vital role in funding conservation and wildlife management efforts throughout the state. Under the American System of Conservation Funding (ASCF), a unique “user pays – public benefits” structure, Oregon’s sportsmen and women generate tens of millions of dollars each year for the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife. These funds are generated through license sales and a 10-11% federal excise tax on sporting-related goods, including firearm purchases. If implemented, Measure 114 will have a negative impact on conservation funding by decreasing the tax revenue available for wildlife management and conservation.

  • On June 9, closing arguments were made in the federal lawsuit challenging the provisions of Oregon’s Measure 114, an initiative petition that narrowly passed on the November 2022 ballot. If implemented, Measure 114 would ban standard capacity magazines and require an impossible permitting system to purchase a firearm.
  • The Honorable Karin J. Immergut presided over the case, which was a combination of four federal lawsuits in U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon. There is also a legal challenge underway in state court, with an injunction currently in place that has resulted in Measure 114 remaining on hold.
  • The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) and eight partner organizations filed an amicus brief in the U.S. District Court on May 31 in support of the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF)-backed lawsuit.

Throughout the week of June 5, the federal trial in the legal challenge against Measure 114 took place in Portland in the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon. The case, which was a combination of four federal lawsuits, challenges Measure 114’s ban on standard capacity magazines and impossible permitting process as unconstitutional. Measure 114 was passed on the November 2022 ballot by a narrow margin of less than 1.5% and has since remained on hold while legal challenges are underway in both federal and state court. Both before and since it’s passage, over 20 national and state organizations have organized as the Sportsmen’s Opposed to Gun Violence Coalition, which led an opposition campaign to the ballot measure and has since been working on legal and legislative strategy.

On May 30, ahead of the federal trial, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation and several members of the Sportsmen Opposed to Gun Violence Coalition filed an amicus brief in U.S. District Court in support of the NSSF-backed lawsuit. The amicus brief, drafted with support from Safari Club International’s litigation team, contends that Measure 114’s permitting requirement is unconstitutionally burdensome as it impedes the Second Amendment-protected right to own firearms and doesn’t provide historical justification for the restriction.

Coalition members filing the amicus brief includes Oregon Hunters Association, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation, Oregon Wild Sheep Foundation, Safari Club International, National Deer Association, Delta Waterfowl, and Ducks Unlimited.

The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation and partner organizations have also been working in opposition to efforts being made in the state legislature to advance Senate Bill 348, which if passed, would implement Measure 114’s provisions through legislative action. CSF and numerous national and state partners submitted a letter to the Oregon Senate that highlights the egregious impacts that SB 348 would have on outdoor traditions and conservation funding. CSF and other members of the Sportsmen’s Opposed to Gun Violence Coalition will remain opposed to SB 348 through the end of the legislative session on June 25 and will continue to support the federal legal challenge against Oregon Measure 114.

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