A gun control initiative considered “extremist” by Second Amendment activists has qualified for the November ballot in Oregon, and if passed, it will require a permit to purchase a firearm and ban magazines holding more than 10 cartridges.
Predictably, one of the chief proponents of Initiative Petition 17, Rev. Mark Knutson, fell back on a favorite argument supporting gun restrictions. It is “for the sake of the children and youth in the state,” he told KGW.
Fox News describes the measure as “one of the nation’s strictest gun control proposals.” Some grassroots activists are wondering how the exercise of a constitutional right is up to a public popularity contest. Neighboring Washington has adopted two such gun control initiative measures in the past eight years, beginning with I-594 in 2014 and then I-1639 in 2018. Both initiatives were sold to the public as solutions to so-called “gun violence” and measures that would reduce gun-related crime.
However, since 2015—the first full year following adoption of the first initiative, which required so-called “universal background checks” on all firearm transfers, with limited exemptions for immediate family members—violent crime and especially homicide has climbed, not declined.
According to the annual FBI Uniform Crime Report, in 2015, Washington reported 209 murders, including 141 involving guns. In 2020, the most recent year for which FBI data is available, there were 298 homicides, including 177 committed with firearms.
This is data local newspapers in Washington seem to ignore.
Kevin Starrett, head of the Oregon Firearms Federation, told Ammoland News he had spoken with several law enforcement agencies around the state, learning in the process none of them are set up to conduct the live fire training that would be required for a permit. If the measure passes, local law enforcement will be financially strapped to accommodate permit applicants.
If the measure passes, it will likely face an immediate court challenge on Second Amendment grounds, for requiring a permit to exercise a constitutional right.
As noted by KGW, “The official ballot title will read Requires permit to acquire firearms; police maintain permit/firearm database; criminally prohibits certain ammunition magazines.”
Fox News suggested what put the petition over the top in recent weeks were the attacks in Buffalo and Uvalde by killers using semi-auto rifles.