Oregon AG Drafts Ballot Title For Ban of 'Assault Weapons,' Including Pistols
Portland, OR – The Attorney General for Oregon has drafted the ballot title for an initiative that would ban the sale of high capacity magazines and many semiautomatic rifles, pistols, and shotguns.
Initiative Petition 43 makes it a crime to have possession of, or transfer, assault weapons or large capacity magazines, with some exceptions, according to The Oregonian.
The ballot initiative would make it illegal to manufacture and the sale of magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition, according to The Oregonian. It also would ban the manufacture and sale of firearms classified as assault weapons. Those bans would start in 2019.
An “assault weapon,” as defined by the proposed law, included semi-automatic rifles and pistols with a detachable magazine and one of several modifications, semi-automatic shotguns with grip and stock modifications, and semi-automatic rifles under 30 inches in length, the Statesman Journal reported.
The initiative said a high-capacity magazine was defined as any feeding device that held more than 10 rounds of ammunition.
Conservative Oregonians and gun enthusiasts were furious about the proposed change to the state’s gun laws, and called it an infringement on the Constitution, according to the Statesman Journal.
The Statesman Journal reported that some said it was the first step in the realization of a long-held belief that the government would someday try to take away its citizens' firearms.
Oregon Firearms Federation Director Kevin Starrett said blamed the effort on “well-funded, far-left organizations that are exploiting impressionable children to attack the Constitution,” the Statesman Journal reported.
"It's frightening that so many young people are blindly following puppet masters and actually demanding fewer rights," Starrett told the Statesman Journal in an email.
Under the new law, any person who already owned a newly-prohibited weapon covered by the proposed law would have to get rid of them or face felony charges.
Military and law enforcement employees who need to carry firearms and retailers who sell those weapons to the police and military would exempted. For everyone else, possession of those weapons would be a Class B felony, according to The Oregonian.
Before the initiative can move forward, several things have to happen on a tight deadline.
The Portland area clergy leading the effort have only until July 6 to collect more than 88,000 signatures to get it on the ballot this November, but they can’t get started until the ballot appeal process is completed, according to The Oregonian.
Opponents may appeal the ballot title all the way to the Oregon Supreme Court, which can be a lengthy process, The Oregonian reported.
The Oregonian reported that Lift Every Voice, the organizers of the initiative, planned to rely on volunteers rather than paid signature gatherers to get the 88,000 signatures.
The public can comment on the draft up until May 8.
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