Opinion & Editorial

Off target: BM 114 missing the mark

First, I would like to thank you for your support and understanding of the logistical difficulties the passing of Ballot Measure 114 has created for law enforcement agencies.


Many questions have arisen as to what will happen to the rights of gun owners in Oregon with the passing of Measure 114.

For the record, I believe BM 114 to be an unconstitutional restriction on the right to possess firearms, and I believe that the U.S. Supreme Court has already indicated as much in its review of other states’ laws of similar nature. 

That said, I also believe that the founding fathers of the USA specifically designed a three-part governance system so that no one person was given any kind of supreme power. In our three-part system, the judicial branch is charged with the responsibility to declare a statute or act as unconstitutional.

My responsibility lies in the organization and operation of the Office of Sheriff in Lane County. I can tell you that we don’t have sufficient resources to do the primary function of the Office, which is “to conserve the peace.”

We have the fewest number of deputy sheriffs per capita of any county in Oregon. We have an average response time to domestic violence calls for service of over an hour and a half. We have insufficient resources to properly respond and investigate burglaries in our county.

The Lane County Sheriff’s Office is responsible for issuing Concealed Handgun Licenses (CHL) to qualified residents and there are roughly 25,000 CHL holders in the county. Since the introduction of Measure 114 there has been a surge in applications for new and renewing CHLs.

We already are operating on limited resources and this, unfortunately, carries over into our CHL department.

Currently, appointments are scheduled until May 2023 for new applicants and October 2023 for renewals. We also serve walk-in applicants on Wednesdays in an attempt to lessen the lag time for scheduled appointments. However, the sheer volume of CHL applicants and the current state of our resources create an inability to adequately address that workload, let alone a new permitting process as required by BM 114.

As you may be aware, the date Measure 114 is to take effect is in limbo due to recent rulings out of Harney County.   

Myself, and other Sheriffs, often rely on the analysis of our legal advisor(s) through our Oregon State Sheriffs Association. Having reviewed the BM 114 and the legal analysis received, the following opinion is my understanding of the likely next steps.

Oregon State Police were charged with creating a permitting system which complies with the measure requirements. There is currently no permitting process in place.

Court challenges often take years. One such challenge is underway on a California magazine ban that was sent back to the 9th Circuit Court by the U.S. Supreme Court for reconsideration due to a recent Supreme Court decision in the N.Y. Rifle v. Bruen case.

Since the measure as written provides an affirmative defense to possession of the magazine if it was owned prior to the effective date of the measure, you should document that you have them in your possession before this measure takes effect. One suggestion might be that you take a dated photograph of your magazines. 

The Oregon State Sheriffs Association, the Oregon Association of Chiefs of Police, and the Oregon State Police, will continue to meet to discuss these questions and concerns as the logistics of Measure 114 are worked through. I know that there will continue to be questions surrounding this measure, and I am committed to providing that information as soon as it becomes clear.

One thing we all know for sure – no one currently has the staff or resources to take on the burden of this unfunded mandate.

Clifton G. Harrold is the sheriff of Lane County, and a Creswell native.



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