Unintended Consequences: How Oregon’s Measure 114 Will Hurt Outdoor Recreation and Conservation

Contact: Keely Hopkins, Manager Pacific States and Firearm Policy

  • In November, Oregon voters will decide the fate of Measure 114, which if passed, would ban standard capacity magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds and would require an exhaustive permitting process to purchase a firearm.
  • In addition to restricting the sale of commonly owned firearms with standard capacity magazines, Measure 114 also has the potential to shut down the sale of all firearms, and the critical conservation funding their sales provides through the Pittman-Robertson Act.
  • The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) is serving as the co-lead of the sportsmen’s opposition to Measure 114 alongside the Oregon Hunters Association, and has joined together over 15 national and state organizations to form the Sportsmen’s Coalition Opposed to Gun Violence, to which CSF is financially contributing.

Why It Matters: Oregon’s law-abiding hunters and 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 passed, Measure 114, would impact conservation funding in the state by decreasing the tax revenue available for wildlife management and conservation.

On November 8, Oregon voters will decide the fate of Measure 114 — a ballot initiative being touted as gun safety reform but that would severely impact outdoor recreation and conservation funding throughout the state. Measure 114 would ban standard capacity magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds and would establish an exhaustive permit process to purchase a firearm. In order to obtain the permit, Oregon’s hunters and recreational shooters would first be required to take a yet-to-be-established firearm training course. Sportsmen and women are rightly questioning the impacts the measure, if passed, would have on the Beaver State’s rich outdoor heritage and the future of hunting and recreational shooting in Oregon.

Each year, Oregon’s hunters and recreational shooters contribute tens of millions of dollars to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW), providing vital revenue to help carry out their mission of managing the state’s diverse fish and wildlife, and the habitats upon which they depend. Under the Pittman-Robertson Act, Oregon’s hunters and recreational shooters pay a 10-11% excise tax on all firearm purchases, which in turn helps fund a large portion of the state’s wildlife management, conservation, and research efforts. Last year alone, ODFW received over $30 million dollars through Pittman-Robertson and Dingell-Johnson/Wallop-Breaux apportionments, and when combined with hunting and fishing license sales, it resulted in around 47% of ODFW’s budget being comprised of sportsmen-generated dollars.

Unfortunately, Measure 114, if passed, would threaten this very funding that supports the state’s delicate habitats and wildlife populations—something to which all Oregonian’s should care about. Not only will restricting the sale of commonly owned firearms with standard capacity magazines decrease conservation funding, but Measure 114 has the potential to shut down the sale of all firearms until the permitting system and in-person training program are established by law enforcement. The Oregon State Sheriff’s Association estimates it will cost $40 million dollars annually to operate the training program alone, yet Measure 114 provides no funding to local law enforcement for implementation. This unfunded mandate is likely to put a halt to all firearm sales, and the conservation funding it provides. Even once established, the lengthy permitting process and training requirements will place additional burdens and costs on new hunters and shooters, raising concerns about the impact it will have on R3 efforts and future hunter participation numbers.

The sportsmen’s community is pushing back against the initiative and recently formed the Sportsmen’s Coalition Opposed to Gun Violence to help educate Oregon voters about the impacts the measure will have on legal hunting, outdoor recreation, and conservation funding. Led by the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation and Oregon Hunters Association, the coalition is comprised over 15 national and state organizations that all have concerns about the unintended consequences of Measure 114. More information on the coalition and the initiative can be found at www.SportsmenNo114.org, including information on how to join CSF in financially supporting the effort.

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Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?

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