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OHA braces for election, 2023 legislative session

By Amy Patrick, OHA Policy Director

Looking ahead to the November election, as well as the 2023 legislative session, OHA sees a mixed bag of potential outcomes for hunters. In several areas, such as the attempt to secure a 2024 referendum from the legislature to Constitutionally protect our right to hunt, fish, and harvest, there are huge opportunities to gain ground. However, in the near term, the November election brings potential issues, such as Measure 114’s egregious gun control proposals. Here are a few items to highlight as we move through the election and into the legislative session:

  • Ballot Measure 114: Billed as the “Reduction of Gun Violence Act,” 114 would negatively impact law-abiding firearms owners. The measure would create a permit-to-purchase system for all Oregonians who want to purchase a firearm, including in its qualifications a live-fire course that does not currently exist. If passed, it would effectively stop firearms purchases for an undetermined amount of time while the framework for the permitting system was decided upon and implemented. It would also create a searchable database to house all personal information of permit-holders, to include a record of all firearms purchased, for an indefinite length of time. In an attempt to ban “large capacity” magazines, defined as anything over 10 rounds, the measure would ban several firearms such as shotguns and rifles that can hold more than 10 rounds in an internal tube or chamber. Additionally, the effects of this measure on fundraising events for sportsmen’s organizations, such as OHA, would be devastating.

We already have OSP background checks that take too long. Local law enforcement agencies, which are already strained to provide current services, would have no mandate to offer the required training, and OSP estimates that no permits would be issued in 2023. What will be the impact on sporting goods stores if no firearm transactions occur in 2023, and then only to those who are willing and able to obtain the new permits thereafter? Would your local gun shops even be in business at this time next year?Local governments and law enforcement are opposing Measure 114, and we hope most Oregonians do, as well.

  • Governor’s Race: The battle for the governor’s seat is the most talked about race on the ballot, repeatedly making national news. The governor’s office is critical to hunters, because the governor appoints Fish and Wildlife Commissioners and submits the budget for ODFW, just for starters. The governor’s policies on firearms ownership, predator management and energy development in critical wildlife habitat are key concerns.
  • State Legislature: The leaning of the state legislature is critical in moving forward several natural resources-specific concepts such as the right to hunt, fish, and harvest. In addition, OHA is taking the lead in moving forward additional funding for ODFW specific to Chronic Wasting Disease sampling, research, and establishment of in-state testing.

The ODFW Commission structure will be the topic of another piece of legislation OHA will move forward. The Commission consists of one representative from each of the five congressional districts, plus one at-large representative each from east of the Cascades and west of the Cascades. Since Oregon now has six congressional districts, the statute must be adjusted to reflect new representation. OHA will forward a concept that keeps the Commission as a seven-member body with equal representation from all areas of the state.

OHA encourages our membership to register to vote and make our presence known in both the upcoming election and the 2023 legislative session. To register to vote, simply go to the Secretary of State’s webpage by Oct. 18:

Follow the OHA Legislative News webpage for the most up-to-date information on both the election and the legislative session:

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