From Section 4 — the "Permit-to-Purchase Process" section — subsection 1:
(b) A person is qualified to be issued a permit-to-purchase under this section if the person:
(D) Provides proof of completion of a firearm safety course as defined in subsection (8) of this section....
So now let's go see what Section 4, subsection 8 says:
(8) As used in this section, "proof of completion of a firearm safety course" means the following:
(a) Proof of completion of any firearms training course or class available to the general public that is offered by law enforcement, a community college, or a private or public institution or organization or firearms training school utilizing instructors certified by a law enforcement agency, and that includes components set forth in paragraph (c) of this subsection; or
(b) Proof of completion of any law enforcement firearms training course or class that is offered for security guards, investigators, reserve law enforcement officers, or any other law enforcement officers, and that includes components set forth in paragraph (c) of this subsection;
(c) A firearms training course or class required for issuance of a permit-to-purchase must include:
(A) Review of federal and state laws in place at the time of the class and other safe practices related to ownership, purchase, transportation and use of firearms;
(B) Review of federal and state safe storage laws in place at the time of the class and other safe practices related to safe storage, including reporting lost and stolen guns;
(C) Prevention of abuse or misuse of firearms, including the impact of homicide and suicide on families, communities and the country as a whole; and
(D) In-person demonstration of the applicant's ability to lock, load, unload, fire and store a firearm before an instructor certified by a law enforcement agency. This requirement may be met separately from the other course requirements in subpargagraphs [sic] (A), (B) and (C) of paragraph (c), which may be completed in an on-line course, provided the on-line course has been conducted by a trainer certified by law enforcement.
(d) Proof of successful completion of a training course in order to meet the requirements for a concealed handgun license issued under ORS 166.291 and 166.292 may be submitted for a permit as a substitute for the requirements in paragraph (c) of this subsection, provided the completed course included each of the components set forth in paragraph (c) of this subsection.
Some people might read this and think, "So what? This all seems reasonable. What's wrong with this?"
Let's get started.
Starting from the end, subparagraph (d) says that proof of completion of a training course or class to qualify for a Concealed Handgun License (CHL) can be provided as a substitute for the course or class to qualify for a permit-to-purchase, IF (big "IF") that course or class includes "each of the components set forth in paragraph (c)". That sounds good, until you check the training required for a CHL.
Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS) 166.291, subsection 1, paragraph (f) reads:
(1) The sheriff of a county, upon a person’s application for an Oregon concealed handgun license, upon receipt of the appropriate fees and after compliance with the procedures set out in this section, shall issue the person a concealed handgun license if the person:
(f) Demonstrates competence with a handgun by any one of the following:
(A) Completion of any hunter education or hunter safety course approved by the State Department of Fish and Wildlife or a similar agency of another state if handgun safety was a component of the course;
(B) Completion of any National Rifle Association firearms safety or training course if handgun safety was a component of the course;
(C) Completion of any firearms safety or training course or class available to the general public offered by law enforcement, community college, or private or public institution or organization or firearms training school utilizing instructors certified by the National Rifle Association or a law enforcement agency if handgun safety was a component of the course;
(D) Completion of any law enforcement firearms safety or training course or class offered for security guards, investigators, reserve law enforcement officers or any other law enforcement officers if handgun safety was a component of the course;
(E) Presents evidence of equivalent experience with a handgun through participation in organized shooting competition or military service;
(F) Is licensed or has been licensed to carry a firearm in this state, unless the license has been revoked; or
(G) Completion of any firearms training or safety course or class conducted by a firearms instructor certified by a law enforcement agency or the National Rifle Association if handgun safety was a component of the course;
(Astute readers might notice that Measure 114's section (4)(8), paragraphs (a) and (b), look like they were copy-pasted from ORS 166.291(1)(f), subparagraphs (C) and (D), with "Proof of" inserted at the beginning.)
There are two problems here: First is that the only consistent requirement from all these option is that "handgun safety" was a component. Locking, loading, unloading, firing, and storing — as required by Measure 114 — are not part of a typical CHL training course. Thus, most certificates of completion for a CHL won't qualify for a permit-to-purchase.
Second, a CHL applicant has a broad array of options to meet the training requirement: a course can be conducted by a trainer certified by law enforcement OR the Department of Fish & Wildlife (or another state's equivalent) OR the military OR the National Rifle Association. Even participation in organized shooting sports could count for a CHL application! Measure 114 removes ALL these other avenues and requires you to take a law-enforcement-certified class instead.
However, most CHL trainers are certified by the NRA, not law enforcement, and thus their certificates of completion for a CHL won't qualify for a permit-to-purchase. (It's ironic that cutting the NRA out of the training options has been on the anti-gunners' wish-list for some time, given that the NRA was formed for the express purpose of teaching civilians how to shoot. Regardless, the anti-gunners got their wish.)
So your CHL training certificate probably won't work. You'll have to take additional training.
But where do you get it? This creates a few other potential problems:
- Trainers certified by law enforcement tend to be law enforcement themselves, with all the normal duties of a sworn police officer.
- There's no requirement for any law enforcement agency to certify anyone else to provide permit-to-purchase training.
- There's no funding secured in the measure for any law enforcement agency to review private trainers' curriculum or issue certifications. (The "Defund the Police" movement further complicates things here.) This could mean their in-agency trainers are the only local people qualified to provide courses.
- Law enforcement trainers' time is limited. Tasking them with training private citizens adds an additional set of responsibilities, from developing curriculum and running the courses, for which they will (quite reasonably) expect to be compensated. Private citizen classes will likely be very costly.
And that last assumes their agency's brass doesn't continually fill their schedules with additional law enforcement classes, rendering them unavailable to train private citizens. Or create policies imposing arbitrary limits on permit-to-purchase class sizes. Imagine if a local department's only trainer is allowed to offer the course no more than once per month, with an attendance limit of six people. How long do you think before you can get in?
So training is required before you can apply for permission to purchase a firearm, but it's not necessarily a given that training will be affordable or even available.
And yet, that's still not the most glaring problem of the training requirement.
Ready for it?
The most glaring problem is in paragraph (c), subparagraph (D): "In-person demonstration of the applicant's ability to lock, load, unload, fire and store a firearm before an instructor certified by a law enforcement agency."
Before a prospective gun owner can apply for a permit to receive a firearm, they must first demonstrate — in-person before a law-enforcement-certified trainer — the ability to safely handle a firearm they are not yet allowed to have. Where is this firearm supposed to come from?
And if someone were allowed to bring a gun they already own for the in-person demonstration, and then the background check for the permit-to-purchase revealed they are a "prohibited person" who cannot legally possess that firearm, how is that not a Fifth Amendment violation?
(On that note, will a private trainer who lacks "qualified immunity" want to open themselves to the legal liability of possibly letting a "prohibited person" handle his/her guns?)
This measure is a mess. I'd say someone who doesn't understand existing gun laws wrote it, but it's becoming clearer and clearer that measures like this are written to sound good and reasonable to people who don't know the current law, while dovetailing with the specifics of existing laws to create an impassable legal quagmire for current and prospective gun owners. It is deliberate.
More to come on this measure later. Stay safe out there.