Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN Legal & Legislation

In NRA Supported Lawsuit, Oregon’s Top Court Rejects Flawed “Gun Safety” Ballot Title, Description

Monday, March 16, 2020

In NRA Supported Lawsuit, Oregon’s Top Court Rejects Flawed “Gun Safety” Ballot Title, Description

The NRA has a great record of ensuring that the language used for ballot measures in Oregon is fair, accurate and clear. In 2018, an NRA-backed challenge successfully opposed the language of proposed ballot titles for Initiative Petition 43 (a failed “assault weapons” and magazines ban) and Initiative Petition 44 (likewise withdrawn).   

In the most recent instance, Oregons highest court again agreed with the NRA in a case arising out of a challenge to the ballot title for a “gun safety” initiative.

Initiative Petition 40 was filed last year, intended for inclusion on the November 2020 ballot. If passed, this measure would significantly restrict the ability to keep a firearm available for defensive use. It would result in state legislation mandating that firearms that are not being carried or under direct control be kept locked or placed in locked storage, as set out in the initiative. The owner or possessor of a gun would face criminal liability for failing to secure a gun.

In addition to compromising the personal safety of lawful gun owners, the initiative contains an unusual and punitive civil liability component. An owner or possessor who violates the gun-securing requirement, regardless of inadvertence, negligence, recklessness or harmful intent, would be strictly liable for any death, damage or injury that results from another person obtaining the gun, in the four years following the violation. Similar criminal and civil liability would apply when a gun is sold, given as a gift, loaned, or otherwise “transferred” to another person without first being locked or secured, unless one of the exceptions applies. Other parts of the initiative restrict the access to and use of guns by minors, and impose a reporting requirement for lost and stolen guns (with criminal and strict liability penalties for violations in both cases), and grant the state health authority the power to set standards for acceptable trigger locks, cable locks, and gun safes.   

Under Oregon law, once a petition to initiate new legislation is filed and found to comply with the initial legal requirements, the state attorney general must prepare a four-part ballot title. This consists of a caption, a “simple and understandable statement” of up to 25 words to describe the result if the initiative is approved by the voters, an analogous statement of the result if the measure is rejected, and last, a “concise and impartial” summary describing, generally, the objective of the initiative.

Before this document is finalized, though, the general public has a limited period in which to provide written comments. Otherwise, citizens who continue to have concerns regarding the ballot titles accuracy, scope or impartiality may apply to have a court review the proposed ballot title to ensure it is compliant and not misleading.          

The NRA filed extensive written comments on the draft ballot title for Initiative Petition 40 (see page 85 of the comments link, here). Following the public comment period, the attorney general certified a new and modified ballot title. Unfortunately, this certified ballot title gave rise to fresh concerns, which could only be addressed by court review. Accordingly, the NRA (through NRA Oregon State Director Keely Hopkins) and others initiated legal proceedings, asking the court to evaluate the wording.     

On March 5, the Supreme Court of Oregon issued its decision, ruling that the ballot title failed to comply with the statutory requirements.

First, the caption was inaccurate and under inclusive. Although the initiative itself clearly applied to owners, possessors and transferors of guns, the caption referred exclusively to “owners.” “As written, the caption does not accurately reflect the scope of IP 40. It could cause potential petition signers and voters to incorrectly conclude that, if they do not own a firearm, IP 40 will not affect them.” The caption also failed to refer to the unusual “strict liability” provisions. “To adequately alert potential petition signers and voters to that substantial change in the law, the caption must identify the heightened liability that IP 40 would impose.”

Other problems were found with the “yes result” statement (describing the results of a “yes” vote). This, like the caption, improperly referred only to “owners.” It also incorrectly implied that, under the initiative, firearms had to be secured only when “stored or transferred.” Voters and petition signers, though, were unlikely to interpret “stored” to include all of the “other common circumstances” in which firearms would have to be secured under the initiative.  

With this decision, the certified ballot title goes back to the states attorney general. “Now its up to the attorney general to correct those issues to ensure Oregons voters truly understand the unreasonable restrictions they are faced with accepting,” noted Ms. Hopkins.

Significantly, these kinds of initiative measures are often proposed after duly elected legislators decide that the proposals are unworkable or unnecessary or otherwise lack merit. Earlier this year, Oregons legislators again rejected attempts to enact a firearm storage bill, HB 4005A, that essentially replicated the provisions of Initiative Petition 40.   

The NRAs efforts now focus on three new, overlapping “gun safety” initiative petitions underway in Oregon: Initiative Petition 60 (ban on “large capacity” magazines, and increased restrictions, including age limits, wait periods, and transfer requirements on semiautomatic firearms defined to be “semiautomatic assault firearms”), Initiative Petition 61 (restrictions on the sale, purchase, and transfer of semiautomatic guns defined to be “semiautomatic assault firearms”), and Initiative Petition 62 (ban on “large capacity” magazines). 

A legal challenge to the ballot language of Initiative Petition 60 was filed in February, claiming that the wording is “deceptive and fails to adequately convey to voters the sweeping changes” that are proposed by the initiative. Court challenges to the ballot titles for Initiative Petitions 61 and 62 have since been filed, as well.

Your NRA will keep you updated on future developments.

IN THIS ARTICLE
Oregon Storage of Firearms
TRENDING NOW
NRA Scores Legal Victory Against ATF; “Pistol Brace Rule” Enjoined From Going Into Effect Against NRA Members

Monday, April 1, 2024

NRA Scores Legal Victory Against ATF; “Pistol Brace Rule” Enjoined From Going Into Effect Against NRA Members

NRA Members Among the Largest Class Protected from Draconian Rule

U.S. Supreme Court invalidates ATF Rule Classifying Bump Stocks as Machineguns

Friday, June 14, 2024

U.S. Supreme Court invalidates ATF Rule Classifying Bump Stocks as Machineguns

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives unlawfully exceeded its authority by classifying bump stocks as machineguns.

NRA Secures Landmark Legal Victory; Supreme Court Unanimously Rules for NRA in First Amendment Case Against Former New York Regulator

News  

Thursday, May 30, 2024

NRA Secures Landmark Legal Victory; Supreme Court Unanimously Rules for NRA in First Amendment Case Against Former New York Regulator

The National Rifle Association of America (NRA) scored a historic legal victory today in one of the most closely followed First Amendment cases in the nation. In a stinging rebuke of New York’s “blacklisting campaign” against ...

Biden Was Right on Veterans Before He was Wrong; Now Congress Tightens the Reins

Monday, June 10, 2024

Biden Was Right on Veterans Before He was Wrong; Now Congress Tightens the Reins

In March, we reported on an appropriations rider that corrected a longstanding and shameful practice by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) of reporting beneficiaries to NICS as “mental defectives” prohibited from having guns, merely ...

California: Mandatory Storage Legislation Passed in Committee

Wednesday, June 12, 2024

California: Mandatory Storage Legislation Passed in Committee

Yesterday, Senate Bill 53 passed in the Assembly Public Safety Committee on a 6-2 vote and has been referred to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

Chicago Crime Alerts – Pernicious Perception or an Inconvenient Truth?

Monday, June 10, 2024

Chicago Crime Alerts – Pernicious Perception or an Inconvenient Truth?

Earlier this year, Chicago city council member Leni Manaa-Hoppenworth made steering-wheel locks available for free to interested residents. The message she shared was that “[s]afety is a top priority for our office. We believe that everyone deserves ...

New York: Legislature Wraps Up 2024 Regular Session

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

New York: Legislature Wraps Up 2024 Regular Session

Gun owners have reason to celebrate when lawmakers drop the final gavel in Albany. Late Friday night, legislators finished their work and mercifully called it quits. It was a mixed bag for gun owners as the Legislature ...

NRA Files Amicus Brief with Ninth Circuit in Challenge to California’s Billy Club Ban

Friday, June 14, 2024

NRA Files Amicus Brief with Ninth Circuit in Challenge to California’s Billy Club Ban

Today, NRA filed an amicus brief with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in support of a challenge to California’s prohibition on the possession of billy clubs.

Bob Barr Elected NRA President, Doug Hamlin Elected to Serve as NRA Executive Vice President & CEO

News  

Monday, May 20, 2024

Bob Barr Elected NRA President, Doug Hamlin Elected to Serve as NRA Executive Vice President & CEO

Today, the Board of Directors of the National Rifle Association of America elected former U.S. Congressman Bob Barr as President of the NRA and Doug Hamlin as NRA Executive Vice President & CEO. The meeting ...

Michigan: Governor’s New Budget Includes $2.6 Million for Red-Flag Laws

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Michigan: Governor’s New Budget Includes $2.6 Million for Red-Flag Laws

Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced her recommendations for the upcoming budget, which included the use of taxpayer funds for Michigan’s new red-flag law and other gun-control measures. The governor recommended $2.6 million for the implementation of ...

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -

More Like This From Around The NRA

NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.