Voters in Oregon approve gun control measure, declare healthcare a right

Gun-control advocates rallying outside the Oregon state Capitol
Gun control advocates, including local religious figures, rally outside the Oregon state Capitol in Salem in July.
(Andrew Selsky / Associated Press)

Oregon voters have narrowly passed measures to strengthen gun laws and mandate healthcare as a human right.

Measure 114 requires residents to obtain a permit to purchase a gun; bans magazines of more than 10 rounds except in certain circumstances; and creates a statewide firearms database. It is one of the most robust gun control measures to pass in the nation.

To qualify for a permit, an applicant will need to take an approved, in-person firearm safety course; pay a fee; provide personal information; be fingerprinted and photographed; and pass a federal criminal background check. The permits will be processed by local police chiefs and county sheriffs or their designees.


The ban on large-capacity magazines would not apply to current owners or to members of law enforcement or the military.

Proponents say the law will reduce suicides — which account for 82% of gun deaths in Oregon — as well as mass shootings and other gun violence.

Opponents, which include the left-wing Socialist Rifle Assn., say the measure infringes on constitutionally protected rights, and warn that having law enforcement agencies run the permitting process could reduce access to guns among marginalized communities and people of color. They say permitting fees and the cost of the firearms course could also be barriers to access.

A lawsuit challenged Oregon’s rule that only state residents were covered by a law allowing terminally ill people to end their own lives.

March 29, 2022

Passage of the healthcare proposal, Measure 111, makes Oregon the first state in the nation to change its constitution to explicitly declare affordable healthcare a fundamental human right.

The amendment reads: “It is the obligation of the state to ensure that every resident of Oregon has access to cost-effective, clinically appropriate and affordable health care as a fundamental right.”


It does not define “cost-effective, clinically appropriate and affordable,” nor does it say who will foot the bill.

The Oregon Health Authority says 94% of Oregonians have insurance coverage and more are eligible for the Oregon Medicaid plan or a subsidy to reduce the cost of commercial insurance.

Opponents warned that the amendment could trigger legal and political challenges.