A federal trial over Oregon’s voter-approved gun control measure is set to open Monday in Portland, marking a critical next step for one of the toughest gun control laws in the nation after months of being tied up in the courts.
The trial, which will be held before a judge and not a jury, will determine whether the law violates the U.S. Constitution.
The protracted legal battle over the law could well last beyond the trial. Whatever the judge decides, the ruling is likely to be appealed, potentially moving all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Oregon voters in November narrowly passed Measure 114, which requires residents to undergo safety training and a background check to obtain a permit to buy a gun.
It was one of several lawsuits filed over the measure.
In a separate lawsuit, filed in state court in rural and sparsely populated Harney County in southeastern Oregon, Gun Owners of America Inc., the Gun Owners Foundation and several individual gun owners claimed the law violates the Oregon Constitution.
The measure’s fate is being carefully watched as one of the first new gun restrictions since the U.S. Supreme Court last June struck down a New York law that limited carrying guns outside the home. The high court has allowed the law to remain in force while a lawsuit plays out.