People in Oregon are scrambling to stock up on firearms before the passage of Measure 114, which would restrict access to such items.
State police processed 8,609 background checks for firearms purchases during the week of October 30. Capt. Stephanie Bigman, a spokesman for the state police, said that the number of requests more than quadrupled to 18,065 in the subsequent election week on November 6.
According to state police and gun shop owners, this has led to an increased backlog in completing the required background checks and lengthier wait times for clients.
As voters around the country cast votes on one of the strongest gun control measures in history, the number of persons waiting for state police permission on background checks has quadrupled in the previous two weeks, from about 10,000 to approximately 20,000.
Capt. Kyle Kennedy, another state police official, stated, “Our backlog considerably surged in the beginning of 2020 and has been moving down until this last election period.”
Measure 114, which mandates background checks for gun purchases and bans magazines holding more than 10 rounds of ammo, was narrowly approved by voters in Oregon on Tuesday.
State police have reportedly granted permission for around 63% of petitions submitted this month.
The state police stated in a statement on Wednesday that its guns section is working through a “extraordinary firearms request volume” and will continue to do so as fast as feasible.
In 2018, Oregon State Police checked the backgrounds of 338,330 potential gun purchasers, down from 418,061 in 2020.
Since the beginning of the year until today, November 14th, the state police have undertaken 285,552 checks of criminal records.
Measure 114 mandates that anybody purchasing a firearm in Oregon submit an application to their local county sheriff, pay a $65 permit fee, submit fingerprints, attend a mandatory gun safety class, and pass a background check. This license is valid for five years.
Before selling a weapon to a person with a valid permit, the dealer must once again get a completed and authorized firearms background check on the individual from the state police.
Proponents of Measure 114 are attempting to form a committee or working group with state legislators and state police to iron out the specifics, such as how the permission process would function and how money will be allocated to support extra background checks.
One manager, three supervisors, and twenty-six full-time examiners make up the 30 person personnel of the guns processing unit. Only two of the posts for part-time examiners and experts have been filled, despite the fact that money exists for thirteen total.
Bigman said the department is currently assessing the personnel requirements of the permit-to-purchase system. For the purpose of enforcing the statute, state police are consulting with the Oregon Department of Justice and the state sheriffs’ and police chiefs’ organizations.
State police anticipated a 38 percent increase in their workload as a result of Measure 114’s inclusion on the ballot. The state police said in August that they were attempting to clear up a backlog of firearms background checks caused by an expected rise in gun purchases beginning in 2020.
State police estimate that each processor in the unit may do 10,782 inspections each year.
As the Secretary of State’s Office has informed the state police, the law will take effect sooner than originally anticipated. We are already 30 days beyond the day it was “enacted or authorized,” so that was on December 8th.
The authors of Measure 114 claim they were told its implementation date would be 30 days following the vote certification deadline on December 15.
Secretary of State Office spokesman Ben Morris speculated that the provision permitting votes to be postmarked on Election Day, November 8, and counted if they received within seven days after the election may have contributed to the misunderstanding. This resulted in the unique situation where the effective date of a ballot proposition (Dec. 8) occurred before the state deadline for the vote to be formally certified (Dec. 15).
“Those dates would have matched up in prior years,” Morris added.
One member of the Lift Every Voice Oregon campaign’s legislative committee, Liz McKanna, has said that the state police and others involved need to “do everything they can” to implement a permit-to-purchase program as soon as possible.
They expect the action to reduce fatalities, so that’s great news, she added.