Campaign behind an Oregon firearm initiative submits signatures

The ballot initiative signature deadline was July 8 in Oregon. Lift Every Voice Oregon, the campaign behind an initiative related to firearm regulation, filed 159,565 signatures with the secretary of state.

The initiative would enact a law outlining a procedure to apply for a permit to purchase a firearm. Permits would be issued by local law enforcement. Applicants would need to pay a fee, submit a photo ID, be fingerprinted, complete approved safety training, pass a criminal background check, and not be prohibited from possessing firearms. Law enforcement would be able to deny a permit to an applicant believed to be a danger to oneself or others. The initiative would also criminalize the manufacture, importation, possession, use, purchase, sale, or otherwise transferring of ammunition magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds.

In Oregon, the number of signatures required to qualify an initiated state statute for the ballot is equal to 6% of the votes cast for governor in the most recent gubernatorial election, which equals 112,020 signatures.

The campaign filed the initiative on April 29, 2021. On November 12, 2021, the initiative was cleared for signature gathering. Rev. Mark Knutson, chief petitioner and pastor at Augustana Lutheran Church in Portland, said, “I hope it shows how residents in a state can come together from many directions and address the public health crisis of gun violence with common sense and well-put-together legislation. I hope that people are inspired to say: We can do this.” The initiative has received support from the Oregon Progressive Party, League of Women Voters of Oregon, and Oregon Alliance for Gun Safety.

Kevin Starrett, executive director of the Oregon Firearms Federation, said,  “Where do you suppose all the smaller towns who rely on private gun clubs for training are going to go for the live fire portion of the class? How often will they provide it? What costs will be created? How do those increased costs and barriers affect Black folks in inner-city Portland?”

Oregon voters will decide on three other ballot measures in November, including an initiative that qualified for the ballot on July 5. The initiative would disqualify state legislators from re-election for unexcused legislative absenteeism, such as walkouts. The Oregon State Legislature voted to refer an amendment that would add “affordable health care as a fundamental right” to the Oregon Constitution and an amendment that would repeal language allowing slavery or involuntary servitude as criminal punishment.

Between 1985 and 2020,  Oregon voters decided on 275 ballot measures, approving 131 measures and rejecting 144.

Additional reading:

Oregon 2022 ballot measures