Will The Anti-Gun Initiative On Oregon’s Fall Ballot Stop The Bend Shooting?

The Bend grocery shop shooting is the latest random public murder by angry, dissatisfied individuals. In 2022, it’s Oregon’s second. This November, Oregon voters can tighten gun regulations to prevent future tragedies.

Unknown if Measure 114’s provisions would have stopped the shooter. Even if the law had prevented the 20-year-old gunman from lawfully getting his arsenal in Oregon, he could have gotten them by crossing state boundaries. We don’t know the shooter’s firearms purchases.

Measure 114 would create barriers to firearms purchases. The Bend shooter may have lawfully purchased his three guns under the proposed law. He couldn’t have bought his high-capacity mags. His efforts to purchase weapons in the weeks before he killed two people may have slowed or changed his strategy.

Here’s how the Measure 114 restrictions may have worked.

The Guns

The proposed new law would ban no specific gun types. Bend’s shooter had two guns. Shotgun and AR-15, according to police. Measure 114, if passed, wouldn’t ban either gun in Oregon.

Police also found a sawed-off shotgun. Short-barreled shotguns are prohibited in Oregon, but the shooter’s modified long-barreled gun is not. Oregon’s fall ballot initiative wouldn’t make it illegal.

Measure 114 opponent Kevin Starrett argued the proposed regulations would ban some sporting shotguns with huge magazines. The authors say it doesn’t. They claim owners must alter firearms to hold fewer bullets.

The Bullets

The proposed law would ban magazines with more exceeding 10 rounds.

According to police, the Bend Safeway shooter had four 30-round AR-15 magazines. Police recovered 100 shot casings from the shooter’s apartment complex, the mall, and the grocery store.

Under Measure 114, the shooter would have needed 10 magazines to discharge the same number of rounds and 9 more to have them on him when he died. The magazine’s provision aims to make mass shootings tougher by making it harder to carry and fire so much ammo. 100 bullet casings found in Bend were likely shot within five minutes.

Will The Anti-Gun Initiative On Oregon's Fall Ballot Stop The Bend Shooting
Will The Anti-Gun Initiative On Oregon’s Fall Ballot Stop The Bend Shooting

The Background Check

The new law requires Oregon gun buyers to have a permit. Oregon State Police background checks are required to receive permission.

The background check for a firearms permit would be in addition to the check for buying a gun.

Local law enforcement could consider “threats of criminal violence” when awarding the permit. Current screenings include criminal history, institutionalized mental illness, and immigration status.

The Bend shooter left a comprehensive blog explaining his murderous plans, although he had no criminal background and didn’t meet any of Oregon’s prohibited purchaser categories. The suggested new approach does not necessitate a scan of a potential buyer’s online presence, although the information might be examined. If the initiative passes, backers say some details about new restrictions must be finalized. A representative for the Oregon State Police said the proposal “is still being examined” and did not comment on how the agency would run the additional background check per purchaser if Measure 114 passed.

The new regulation requires every criminal background check, which may have influenced the Bend shooter’s ability to buy guns. If a background check isn’t completed within three business days, a buyer can receive a gun. This is regarded as the “Charleston loophole” because it permitted a man who may have been banned from buying a gun in South Carolina to do so.

The Bend shooter’s blog claims he waited days to buy a shotgun. Perhaps his background check struck a glitch, causing the delay.

When the state’s automated scan fails to discover a needed record or finds another discrepancy, it’s tagged “pending.” The Oregon State Police annual weapons quick check system report says this happened in 3% of cases in 2021. A genuine person reviews pending cases to close background requests.

The shooter may have sought to buy a gun, had his background check pending, and then acquired it three days later. Even if this happened, the check would have cleared. Oregon State Police must finish all checks.

A background check may have prevented or delayed the 20-year-old from buying a gun. In 2021, 49% of background checks were completed within 10 days, but 21% took more than 120.

Gun Safety Training

Measure 114 requires a safety course for gun permits. Part of the course must be taken at a firing range in person. The training includes safe gun storage, proper gun holding techniques to prevent accidents, and the impact of suicide and homicide on victims’ friends and family.

Whether this course would have altered anything for the young man who went to a Bend grocery store intending to kill “40+” people is hard to say.

He posted videos of himself using his guns and spoke online about wanting to hurt people. The gunman often wrote about wanting to die.

Oregon Health Authority: 82% of gun deaths in 2019 and 77% in 2020 are suicides. Rural Oregon men have the highest suicide rates. Research shows stronger gun rules reduce suicide rates.

The 20-year-old Bend gunman may have sought treatment after learning about suicide and homicide in firearms safety training. A mandated firearms safety course instructor or student may have spotted something wrong about him and reported it.

Measure 114 may not have benefited this suicidal, violent man. He may have taken the safety course without being warned and ignored the suicide prevention advice. He may have stuck to his goals even if it took months. He may have randomly shot as many people.

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