For the past three weekends, local volunteers from Jackson County have been organizing pop-up stands in Central Point and Medford to gather signatures for a ballot measure protecting gun ownership – an antithesis to the state gun ban.
After receiving approval by the Jackson County Elections Office, the petitioned amendment, Jack 18-01 Right to Bear Arms Amendment has gained some traction within the community. So far, volunteers for the petition say they’ve received some 1,900 signatures – a quarter of what they need to ensure the petition makes it on the November ballot.
Ryan Mallory, a spokesman and volunteer for the group, says that a minimum of 6,608 legal signatures is needed within the year to ensure that this makes it onto the county ballot. But they want to shoot for more than that and they’re encouraged by what they’ve seen so far.
One problem that could arise for the group though is a battle between state and county. If both petitions pass in November (pending they make the ballot) the state could have legal authority over the county’s own amendment. Mallory understands this and says they’re prepared for a battle.
“We’ll have to find out that in court probably,” he said. “That’s one of the goals, to slow down ballot measures just like that and put some local affront to them so that courts can decide those things.”
The controversial gun ban, Initiative Petition 43, targets many semi-automatic firearms including rifles, pistols and shotguns and any semi-automatic firearm that carries more than 10 rounds.
According to Mallory, it’s not just targeting AR-15 and similar firearms – it’s even targeting a basic hunting rifle.
The group’s petition, however, would allow every person in the county, resident or visitor, to have the right to bear arms. Along with no registration requirements, the amendment would allow people to, “freely possess, manufacture, transfer, sell and buy firearms, including but not limited to what is commonly and subjectively referred to as or semi-automatic “assault-style” firearms and/or high capacity feed systems.”
“Those weapons people may use to do wrong – that can be done with anything,” said Mallory. “A bomb, a bus. We’ve seen it all over the world. Taking away the guns puts the citizens at risk.”
While not stated as defenders of the Second Amendment, the group upholds the values of it and it’s importance, they say, it gives to the defense of the citizens of this country.
“Keeping our gun rights helps other citizens protect weaker citizens that may not be able to defend themselves,” said Mallory. “Law abiding gun owners save lives, we’ve seen it throughout the country.”
Mallory says the group will be out petitioning every Saturday and Sunday until they get the necessary signatures for November. If they don’t gather the needed amount of signatures before August 8, the group has a whole year and would end up qualifying for the ballot in 2020, according to Mallory.
For the the state ban, there may be some trouble for it as it’s still tied up in the courts due to a lack of finalization on ballot language, according to Oregon Public Broadcasting. They need to have signatures gathered by July 6, not leaving the group a lot of time. Backers of the ban said that they still believe they will successfully get the nearly 89,000 signatures for the ballot.