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Interfaith group pushing Oregon ballot initiative to ban 'assault weapons,' high capacity magazines

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A proposed ballot initiative in Oregon would ban assault rifles in the state.(RoschetzkyIstockPhoto/Getty Images)

Oregon voters may be asked to consider a proposal to ban "assault weapons" and high capacity magazines under a ballot initiative petition being promoted as a way to prevent mass shootings, the Statesman Journal reported.

What would this do?

Under Initiative Petition 43, it would be a felony for legal gun owners to not surrender or register their "assault weapons." The petition was filed by an interfaith group in Portland.

If approved by voters, Oregon gun owners would have 120 days to “sell, surrender, or remove the weapon from the state, or render it inoperable,” the report stated. Anyone who wants to keep an "assault weapon" would have to register it with the Oregon State Police. The agency would then consider a person’s criminal record and “other information” to determine if they can have the weapon.

The proposal would outlaw the sale or possession of "assault weapons" in Oregon going forward.

The plan's definition of assault weapons includes “any semiautomatic rifle that has the capacity to accept a detachable magazine, any feature like a folding or telescoping stock, and that can accept more than 10 rounds of ammunition,” the report stated.

Gun advocates are calling the proposal an unprecedented attack on the public’s constitutional right to bear arms. The measure would outlaw numerous styles of guns.

“This is completely out of hand — I couldn’t believe it,” Oregon Rep. Bill Post (R) told the Statesman Journal. “I’ve been told so many times by people in favor of gun control: ‘No one is coming to take your guns.’ This explicitly comes for your guns."

Meanwhile, the interfaith group is working to get enough signatures so the measure can be put before voters during the November general election, the report stated.

That requires 1,000 signatures to start the ballot title drafting process, followed by 88,000 signatures by July 6 to place the initiative on the ballot, according to the Oregon Secretary of State website. Court challenges to the measure are also possible.

Who are the members of the Interfaith group?

The group pushing for the ban includes Pastor Mark Knutson of the Augustana Lutheran Church in Portland, Rev. Alcena Boozer, a former high school principal and pastor emeritus of St. Philip the Deacon Episcopal Church and Rabbi Michael Cahana, of Congregation Beth Israel. The treasurer is Imam Muhammad Najieb, director of the Muslim Community Center of Portland and a Marine veteran, the Times of Israel reported.

Organizers plan to reach out young Oregonians who have been marching in recent protests against gun violence. They will be targeted to help circulate the petition for signatures.

“We recognize that there are perfectly legitimate uses of guns for self-protection and hunting that make a lot of sense,” Cahana said. “But assault weapons are not used for either of those purposes. Many of these weapons exist only for killing and do not belong in civilian hands.”

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