Guns and money

It's heartening that the citizens' initiative for gun control, Measure 114, has made it to the November ballot in Oregon. But the exhausting effort to get the required signatures was just the start of the campaign, of course. Now it's time for the proponents to win the election.

The gun nuts and gun merchants will have arguments against the measure. One of them surfaced yesterday: It's going to cost money to implement the new rules if they pass.

That measure would ban the sale of high-capacity ammunition magazines, require a firearm safety course, tighten licensing and create stricter background checks on weapons’ purchases. A committee involving the Secretary of State’s Office and legislative analysts determined it would cost the state over $23 million, but generate about the same amount in revenue. The measure would cost local governments up to $31 million in its first year....

Cost to state government:

About $2 million in one-time expenses and $21 million between 2023-25 to provide additional staff and resources for Oregon State Police for background checks and issuing permits. The Oregon Judicial Department would likely have increased costs and cases related to new crimes established by the law and among people appealing permit denials.

Revenue for state government:

Up to $23.5 million for the state from fees for fingerprinting, FBI background checks and judicial filings. 

Cost to local government:

More than $51 million in the first year to process an estimated 300,000 permit applications a year. 

More than $47 million in subsequent years to process permits. 

Revenue for local government:

Nearly $20 million per year in application fees. 

It would be the best money that local government in Oregon has spent in a long, long time. And the state legislators, who should be ashamed of themselves that these reforms required a citizens' petition, should be standing ready with the checkbook open ready to cover all the costs, at every level.

There's no good argument against Measure 114. Certainly, the money involved in implementing it is not a valid reason to vote no.