A federal judge in Oregon ruled Tuesday that a new ban on high-capacity gun magazines can go into effect Thursday as planned, but placed a 30-day hold on a permit-to-purchase requirement after local and state law enforcement agencies said they could not have a permitting system ready in time.
U.S. District Judge Karin Immergut, however, did not prevent the permit-to-purchase mandate from taking effect once the permitting system was worked out, according to the ruling.
Oregon's Department of Justice had asked the judge to postpone the permit requirement in the state's new gun law.
The DOJ wrote to Immergut asking her to push back the permit requirement two months to give law enforcement more time to implement it.
"Postponing the permit requirement by approximately two months should give Oregon law enforcement time to have a fully functional permitting system in place," Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum said in a statement.
"If Judge Immergut agrees to the postponement, then starting in February anyone who purchases a gun in Oregon will be required to have a permit."
In the letter to Immergut, Senior Assistant Attorney General Brian Simmonds Marshall said the DOJ decided to make the postponement request after it heard from local law enforcement officials, who said they would not be able to process permit applications starting Dec. 8, when Measure 114 is set to take effect.
Eugene Police Chief Chris Skinner, president of the Oregon Association Chiefs of Police, said Monday that municipalities need to sort out staffing, training, technology, and how to administer firearm aptitude tests, KGW8 reported.
Skinner added that law enforcement agencies need to create and vet a statewide permit to purchase guns.
"We want to make sure uniformed application looks the same whether you’re coming to Eugene, Corvallis, or Albany," Skinner said, KGW8 reported. "It needs to look the same, and as of today we have not fully decided or even vetted an application."
Skinner said law enforcement agencies have not had enough time to produce an adequate permitting system.
Oregon voters narrowly passed one of the nation's most restrictive gun laws on Nov. 8.
"When the Dec. 8 deadline was communicated to us, I think we all collectively panicked," Skinner said, KGW8 reported. "As chiefs, this is about trying to put together a really robust, understandable, simple, consistent and equitable process for people — and we’re not in a space where we’re going to meet that deadline."
Several of the state's county sheriffs have said they won't enforce Measure 114, billed as the Reduction of Gun Violence Act, which requires people to obtain permits and complete safety training to acquire a firearm. It also calls for state police to create and maintain a searchable database of gun ownership.
Gun rights groups filed separate lawsuits in U.S. District Court, the first legal challenges to Measure 114.
Marshall’s letter on Sunday cited a case brought by the Oregon Firearms Federation.
The letter said other parts of Measure 114 should take effect as scheduled on Dec. 8, "including the process for applying for permits, the restrictions on large capacity magazines, and the requirement that background checks must be completed — and not just requested — before firearms can be transferred."
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
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