Today, the Oregon Supreme Court unanimously sided with NRA and other petitioners on the legal challenge to the proposed ballot title for Initiative Petition 43, which seeks to ban commonly owned semi-automatic firearms and standard capacity magazines. Particularly, the court rejected the use of arbitrary terms such as “assault weapons” and “large capacity magazines" and noted these terms were misleading to voters since the initiative would ban most semi-automatic firearms. Previously on June 8th, the NRA, along with the Oregon Hunters Association, filed a legal challenge contesting the misleading and inadequate ballot title as prepared by the state Attorney General. In ruling that the proposed ballot title was inadequate to inform voters about the effects of the initiative, the court ordered it returned to the Attorney General’s office to be modified.
Pursuant to ORS 250.085(9), the Attorney General has five business days to file a modified ballot title with the Oregon Supreme Court and serve copies to NRA and other petitioners. NRA would then have five business days to file an objection to the AG’s modified ballot title. The deadline for initiative proponents to submit signatures to qualify the initiative is July 6th, and proponents are unable to gather signatures until there is a certified ballot title.
Initiative Petition 43, if passed, would ban semi-automatic firearms including rifles, pistols, and shotguns, which have certain listed aesthetic features. Additionally, all standard capacity magazines and semi-automatic firearms with a fixed magazine holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition would be prohibited. The proposal would require any person in legal possession of these firearms or magazines to sell, surrender, or remove the firearm from the state within 120 days of passage. If eligible, a person could register the firearm or standard capacity magazine with the Oregon State Police, subject to a number of requirements.
This initiative attempts to brand these firearms as “assault weapons” to drum up unnecessary fear of their ownership. In reality, these firearms are only being defined by aesthetic features that in no way affect the functionality of the firearm. Semi-automatic firearms only fire one shot per action of the trigger, and such technology has been available to American consumers for more than a century. Semi-automatic firearms and standard capacity magazines are commonly owned by law-abiding citizens for various purposes such as self-defense, recreation, competition, and hunting.
Thank you to all NRA members and Second Amendment supporters that submitted comments on the draft title for IP 43 and helped to spread the word about this initiative. Please stay tuned to your email inbox and www.nraila.org for further updates on the status of the initiative and other issues impacting Second Amendment rights in Oregon.