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'Assault Weapons Ban' Initiative Gains Traction in Oregon

The chief petitioners turned in several thousand signatures on Monday, but it will be at least another week before those are confirmed.

Posted: Mar 27, 2018 3:51 PM
Updated: Mar 27, 2018 4:37 PM

SALEM, Ore. — The chief petitioners of an Oregon initiative to ban 'assault weapons' have turned in an initial batch of sponsorship signatures to the Oregon Secretary of State's office. If 1,000 or more of the signatures are verified as legitimate by the Elections Division, the attorney general will begin drafting the initiative's ballot title.

The Elections Division will have until April 9 to verify those 1,000 signatures. According to an Elections employee, that process has not yet begun. Even if the initiative qualifies for a ballot title, it will still need 88,184 signatures in total to show up on ballots in November.

According to the Elections Division, a ballot title is an impartial summary of a petition's content and effects, which is how the initiative would appear on Oregon ballots.

Initially filed as 'Initiative 42' on March 19, the petition was withdrawn and re-filed on March 22 as 'Initiative 43.' The text of the document is substantially the same. After a line-by-line comparison, Initiative 43 fixes a small typo and adds an introduction ("Be it Enacted by the People of the State of Oregon").

What the re-filed initiative does not address is what critics of the document rail against—the broad and extensive manner in which it categorizes banned firearms. However, a closer read of the petition's text may allay some fears.

The initiative addresses any weapons platform that can accommodate magazines of more than 10 rounds, forward pistol grips, muzzle brakes or flash suppressors, to name a few. If a rifle or pistol has a detachable magazine and any of these extra attachments, it becomes illegal. Detachable magazines are not banned outright, unless they exceed 10 rounds. This means that many gun owners can strip down or simplify their weapons and they will remain legal.

Any firearm which has a "fixed magazine" or natural capacity to accept more than 10 rounds would be illegal, as they essentially contain a "high-capacity magazine."

Semi-automatic shotguns will be illegal if they have both a forward pistol grip and a folding/telescoping stock, or if they can accept a detachable magazine.

Examining the controversial AR-15 rifle in the light of this petition reveals that even this weapon would not be banned outright. Since rifles and pistols with detachable magazines remain legal as long as those magazines accept 10 rounds or less, an AR-15 would only be illegal if it also had a pistol grip—which, admittedly, most versions do. What the initiative specifies is that rifles with a detachable magazine and a grip that places the fingers of the trigger hand directly below the trigger finger are banned.

Language in the initiative that would imply exceptions—namely, that individuals can register their weapons with State law enforcement after passing a criminal background check in order to keep their firearms—only applies to a very slim portion of Oregon's population. Members of the military, law enforcement, licensed firearms dealers, or certain government agencies are the only individuals who qualify for this registration option.

CLICK HERE for our previous story on Initiative 42, when it was first announced.

SEE BELOW for the text of Initiative 43, as it stands today.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 357526

Reported Deaths: 4284
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah55810707
Washington38782324
Marion36837455
Clackamas29779309
Lane27744302
Jackson23059310
Deschutes20336125
Umatilla14492150
Linn12911131
Douglas12118243
Josephine9384196
Yamhill8715113
Klamath8020119
Polk737381
Malheur563677
Benton549431
Coos503794
Columbia382644
Jefferson376052
Lincoln319939
Union319549
Crook291846
Wasco288841
Clatsop244328
Baker203529
Tillamook196932
Hood River192837
Morrow185023
Curry180625
Harney113927
Grant100013
Lake93912
Wallowa68612
Gilliam1544
Sherman1523
Wheeler1121
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 4850807

Reported Deaths: 71341
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles148419226540
Riverside3716705041
San Diego3673614183
San Bernardino3586775692
Orange3242885562
Sacramento1596362309
Kern1463481648
Fresno1463182094
Santa Clara1455431897
Alameda1206921400
San Joaquin1027761721
Ventura1010381167
Contra Costa1000181008
Stanislaus862991335
Tulare80375978
San Francisco54440649
San Mateo54168623
Monterey50911586
Solano46063341
Santa Barbara45223523
Merced42422581
Sonoma40997404
Placer39435429
Imperial36071766
Kings32938325
San Luis Obispo29973333
Madera23955285
Shasta23924352
Butte23818273
Santa Cruz21034221
Yolo20397248
Marin17706244
El Dorado17207149
Sutter13937175
Napa12898100
Yuba1011582
Tehama9534110
Humboldt9269109
Nevada916790
Mendocino766787
Lassen754347
San Benito744972
Tuolumne691790
Lake6631105
Amador547364
Siskiyou451246
Glenn438433
Calaveras391481
Del Norte358742
Colusa307618
Inyo214241
Mono16723
Plumas16607
Mariposa133916
Trinity88011
Modoc6895
Sierra1880
Unassigned1460
Alpine1050
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