MEDFORD, Ore.– A new ballot initiative is being introduced at the state level after it was filed by a interfaith religious group in Portland. If it advances it would ask Oregon voters to ban all assault style weapons in the state.
Initiative Petition 42 is hoping to reduce the number of available assault weapons in the state but according to gun proponents, it may target more guns than just an assault rifle.
“It’s more than an infringement of your second amendment, that’s taking every gun you own away,” said Bryon Millard, a gun proponent and owner of Millard Auction Company.
The proposal, as it stands right now, is meant to ban assault weapons in the state of Oregon. It could go on the November ballot if supporters can get around 88,000 signatures before July 6.
According to Executive Director of Ceasefire Oregon, Penny Okamoto, the ban would only prohibit the future sale of assault-style rifles and high capacity magazines. But what’s written in the proposal is already raising eyebrows.
Currently the petition classifies “assault weapon” in a variety of ways.
For semiautomatic rifles, if it has a detachable magazine and at least one feature such as a grip, flash suppressor, bayonet mount, folding or telescoping stock – it will be banned.
Semiautomatic pistols with centerfire or rimfire and semiautomatic shotguns with at least one of the similar features of a semiautomatic rifle would also be banned.
“I think this is just something they’re trying to push through just to ban all firearms and I don’t think they’ll get it done,” said Millard. “I hope they don’t because it infringes on the second amendment.”
But according to proponents of the petition, the second amendment is not limitless.
“Much like the first amendment, the right to free speech, is not completely unlimited,” said Okamoto. “A person cannot go into a private theater, for example, and yell ‘Fire’ when there is no fire. That endangers a lot of people and so an assault rifle would fall under a similar concept.”
Millard says the law encompasses too much still and even basic hunting rifles could be banned under the petition’s term of assault weapon since many have grips or feature capabilities to include a grip.
“What they’re writing there, anything that would have a form of a pistol grip. So any hunting rifle falls within that category,” he said. “Basically any firearm is on the list.”
Proponents of the petition say it won’t be taking away all guns, just weapons of war. Gun owners will be able to keep their preexisting weapons as long as they register them.
“They will be able to either take them out of state, sell them to a federal license firearms dealer who will dispose of them in a proper way,” said Okamoto. “They can render them inoperable or they can register these products with the state of Oregon.”
The proposal would require all legal gun owners of an assault weapon to do as Okamoto lined out within 120 days of passage. Those who refused to dispose of the weapons could face felony charges.
Military personnel, law enforcement and members of the government may not be affected by the ban and some residents could even be eligible to keep their assault weapon as long as they registered it with Oregon State Police.
Still, those against the initiative worry if this passes it could have drastic effects on gun ownership.
“Assault bomb, assault weapon, assault gun, I mean assault cars,” said Millard. “They’re driving cars through crowds of people. So it’s just a human thing, not a gun thing.”