The people of Oregon may be awaiting the official outcome of their state’s race for governor, but they are also anticipating the results of a potentially drastic change in the state’s gun laws.
In addition to races like the one between gubernatorial candidates Tina Kotek and Christine Drazan, a bill known as the Reduction of Gun Violence Act is also on the ballot. As of Thursday morning, data on a state website showed that the Beaver State was nearly evenly split on the issue, with 50.86% in favor of the bill and 49.14% against it, a difference of 26,827 votes.
According to The Oregonian, those numbers have not been updated since Wednesday evening, when less than 80% of the votes had been counted. Additionally, Oregon’s vote-by-mail system allows ballots to continue to be received until November 15, so long as they were postmarked by 8 p.m. on Election Day. So far, The Associated Press has yet to make a call on the outcome of the vote.
The measure, if it passes, would ban large-capacity magazines over 10 rounds — except for current owners, law enforcement and the military — and require a permit to purchase any gun. To qualify for a permit, an applicant would need to complete an approved firearm safety course that includes a review of state and federal laws and a demonstration before a certified instructor that the applicant can properly lock, load, unload, fire and store a gun.
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They would also be subject to a fee of up to $65, need to pass a criminal background check and need to be determined by a permit agent to not pose a danger to themselves or others based on their mental state or past behavior.
Applicants would apply for the permit from the local police chief, county sheriff, or their designees. Additionally, state police would create a firearms database, and applicants would be fingerprinted and photographed.
Local media like The Oregonian is already projecting that the bill will pass, following the reasoning that many outstanding votes are from left-leaning areas. Mark Knutson, whose group Lift Every Voice Oregon worked to get the measure on the ballot, was already declaring a “historic victory” on Wednesday afternoon.
“There’s more work to be done, but right now, we are going to celebrate with so much joy in our hearts, knowing that brighter and better days are ahead,” he said, according to the Willamette Week.
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While remaining votes may be from blue counties, however, opposition to the bill has not been limited to conservatives. The Portland chapter of the Socialist Rifle Association also opposes the measure.
“Law enforcement should not be responsible for deciding who is allowed to be armed, especially when they have a long and recent history of oppressing marginalized groups,” the left-wing group wrote in a voters’ pamphlet.
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If the measure passes, legal challenges will likely follow. The state sheriffs’ association noted to Fox News that the Supreme Court recently ordered the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to revisit its ruling upholding a similar magazine ban in California.
Fox News’ Hannah Ray Lambert contributed to this report.