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Oregon Initiative Aimed at Tightly Regulating Firearms Returns

A ballot initiative intended to tightly regulate 'assault weapons' and high-capacity magazines died in litigation before it could make the 2018 ballot. Now the measure is back and slated for 2020.

Posted: Feb 1, 2019 11:22 AM
Updated: Feb 1, 2019 11:48 AM

SALEM, Ore. — A controversial "assault weapons ban" initiative that petitioners hoped to get on the 2018 ballot is back — or at least its spiritual successor.

The 2018 ballot initiative was championed by an alliance of Portland-area religious leaders, but got tangled up in litigation that led all the way to the state Supreme Court. Although the measure survived legal challenges with the mandate that they change some of the wording, state laws prevent petitioners from getting signatures on an initiative while it is tied up in court.

With so much of their vital signature-gathering time spent defending their initiative in court, the original petitioners eventually admitted defeat.

Enter Greg Wasson, an activist and former lawyer from Salem. After giving the original initiative a legal once-over, he's filed it as Initiative 16 for the 2020 ballot — under the moniker "The Common Sense Gun Regulation Act of 2020."

"The people of the State of Oregon find and declare that a reduction in the availability of assault weapons and large capacity ammunition magazines will promote the public health and safety of Oregon residents," the initiative reads.

In a statement from the Committee for Petition Rights (CPR) — a group for which Wasson is Executive Secretary — Wasson explained his reasoning for filing the initiative.

"First, it gives me legal standing to try and rescue the people's initiative power from an over-reaching state government. Second, it gives the supporters of reasonable gun control a way to remind the legislature of what waits if the lawmakers continue to avoid the issue," Wasson said.

The substance of Wasson's filing is much the same as the 2018 initiative. "Assault weapons," which describes a range of modifiable semi-automatic gun platforms that accept detachable magazines in addition to other apparatus (forward grips, folding and telescoping stocks, flash suppressors and the like), must be registered with law enforcement and owners submitted to a criminal background check.

"Large capacity magazines" of more than 10 rounds are similarly regulated in the text of Initiative 16.

Failing successful registration, owners of these weapons are supposed to sell them to an approved firearms dealer or have them destroyed under penalty of the law.

The initiative will have to get 112,020 signatures in order to make the 2020 ballot. Once it gets 1,000 verified signatures, the Secretary of State's office will begin drafting a "ballot title," or summary of the measure.

The full text of Wasson's initiative may be read or downloaded below.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 176157

Reported Deaths: 2461
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah35145568
Washington23569229
Marion20282299
Clackamas15499204
Lane11722144
Jackson9984127
Umatilla798483
Deschutes721472
Linn418763
Yamhill412575
Klamath353759
Polk346452
Malheur343058
Josephine307862
Douglas305765
Benton275418
Jefferson207432
Coos198431
Columbia155426
Union141824
Lincoln130520
Wasco130228
Hood River113029
Morrow108115
Clatsop9008
Crook89119
Baker86114
Curry5999
Tillamook5833
Grant4204
Lake4147
Harney3136
Wallowa1575
Gilliam571
Sherman571
Wheeler261
Unassigned00

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Cases: 3723446

Reported Deaths: 61122
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles122964123668
Riverside2976204547
San Bernardino2949734561
San Diego2753683674
Orange2691764900
Santa Clara1173172017
Kern1080131331
Sacramento1016651647
Fresno1007021646
Alameda855831477
Ventura803321002
San Joaquin717351334
Contra Costa67157782
Stanislaus605831032
Tulare49443831
Monterey43301364
San Mateo41226560
San Francisco36094529
Santa Barbara33926446
Solano32047239
Merced31289453
Sonoma29720311
Imperial27995719
Kings22781245
Placer21908283
San Luis Obispo20991257
Madera16289240
Santa Cruz15666204
Marin13868226
Yolo13572200
Shasta11747219
Butte11601196
El Dorado9797109
Napa971579
Sutter9299109
Yuba612744
San Benito598963
Lassen567924
Tehama544556
Nevada448975
Tuolumne408664
Mendocino399347
Humboldt363138
Amador362946
Lake341643
Glenn235825
Colusa220416
Calaveras206252
Siskiyou196521
Inyo141838
Del Norte12907
Mono12744
Plumas6936
Modoc4904
Mariposa4287
Trinity3985
Sierra1100
Alpine880
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