Wednesday, March 21, 2018

[UPDATED] Oregon Gun Ban Measure Introduced — Measure 42 43

[UPDATE] Ballot initiative 42 is now ballot initiative 43. According to Ballotpedia, the original petition was withdrawn to "fix a technical error in text" and then re-filed — and re-numbered — as initiative 43. The title and contents of this post, including links, have been updated to reflect this change. [/UPDATE]

We now have a ballot measure number for the proposed ban on "assault weapons" and standard-capacity magazines I wrote about in my last post.

Measure 43. (A PDF of the measure's text is available at the link.)

It's every bit as bad and overreaching as one might expect:
  • Defines "assault weapon" as a semiautomatic rifle with ONE or more of the following:
    1. pistol grip (which goes further to describe how the firearm is gripped, it includes language such that any type of grip "resulting in any finger on the trigger hand in addition to the trigger finger being directly below any portion of the action of the weapon when firing");
    2. "protruding grip that can be held by the non-trigger hand";
    3. folding, telescoping, or thumbhole stock;
    4. a "shroud attached to the barrel, or that partially or completely encircles the barrel, allowing the bearer to hold the firearm with the non-trigger hand without being burned, but excluding a slide that encloses the barrel";
    5. forward pistol grip;
    6. flash suppressor, muzzle brake, muzzle compensator, or threaded barrel designed to accept one of these;
    7. bayonet mount; or
    8. grenade launcher or flare launcher.
  • "Assault weapon" ALSO includes semiautomatic pistols and semiautomatic (centerfire AND rimfire) rifles with fixed magazines that can accept more than 10 rounds of ammunition (IF I'm reading this as graciously as possible); semiautomatic, centerfire rifles with an overall length less than 30 inches; semiautomatic pistols that accept detachable magazines and have any of features #2, #3, or #4 listed above, or can accept a detachable magazine outside the pistol grip, or has a "threaded barrel capable of accepting a flash suppressor or forward pistol grip".
  • "Assault weapon" ALSO includes semiautomatic shotguns that have a pistol grip and folding or telescoping stock; or have a fixed magazine that holds more than 10 rounds, or can accept a detachable magazine; or has a revolving cylinder.
  • "Assault weapon" ALSO includes any "conversion kit, part or combination of parts from which an assault weapon can be assembled if those parts are in the possession of under control of the same person."
  • Defines "large capacity magazine" as "any ammunition feeding device with the capacity to accept more than 10 rounds or any conversion kit or combination of parts from which such a device can be assembled". They graciously provide an exception for magazines permanently altered to hold less than 10 rounds, .22 caliber tubular magazines, and tubular magazines contained in lever-action firearms.
  • Requires registration with the State Police of all "assault weapons" and "large capacity magazines" if you intend to keep them after January 1, 2019. This includes criminal background checks, which are run by the State Police, and which they will be allowed to charge for just like they do for retail firearm sales. Currently it's $10 per transfer, but they are ALWAYS trying to pass legislation to raise that, most recently to $27. (No word on whether the State Police must conduct one background check for each gun owner, for each form submitted, or if they will conduct a check for each item being registered.)
  • Makes possession of an unregistered "assault weapon" or "large capacity magazine" a Class B Felony.

Yes, mere possession of an unregistered inanimate object will be punishable the same as first-degree aggravated assault!

And that's not even getting into the fact that magazines typically aren't manufactured with unique serial numbers. What will they register?

Also, there are no exemptions for .22 caliber firearms, which means that your Ruger 10/22 is now an "assault weapon"; it's semi-automatic, uses a detachable magazine, and has a section of the stock that wraps around the underside of the barrel, or in other words, "partially ... encircles the barrel, allowing the bearer to hold the firearm with the non-trigger hand without being burned".

Yes, this wording basically bans ALL semiautomatic rifles, and many semiautomatic handguns and shotguns, and makes no exceptions for caliber or historical significance. M1 Garands and M1 Carbines would be covered, as well as semiautomatic M14 clones. So would the "Broomhandle" Mauser C96, since its magazine inserts forward of the trigger and not in the grip.

And yes, this wording bans any pistols you have with threaded barrels for sound suppressors, since if it's threaded for a suppressor it's capable of accepting a flash suppressor. Even if you don't have one. Even no such device exists for your model of pistol.

Honestly, I'm surprised they didn't go for a .50-caliber ban.

[UPDATE] Reading through the bill again, I find a few other choice nuggets:
  • A person seeking to register an "assault weapon" or "large capacity magazine" must also "submit evidence satisfactory to the Department [of State Police] to establish that" such items are stored "securely ... pursuant to existing law and ... as provided in any rules and regulations adopted by the Department specifically relating to assault weapons and large capacity magazines".
    • Here's the kicker: There currently is no "safe storage" law or statute in Oregon. This would allow the State Police to not only create "safe storage" rules and regulations from whole cloth, but also force you to comply with them before you are eligible to register your private property.
    • Personally, I believe this is a "due process" violation, as you would be required to prove your innocence before being found in compliance. It is also a Fifth Amendment violation, as attempting to register (as required by law) potentially requires you to self-incriminate about what a nameless somebody in the State Police might consider a "safe storage" violation.
  • Also included in that "submit evidence satisfactory to the Department" clause, an owner of an "assault weapon" or "large capacity magazine" may only possess them on their own property, on others' property only with the express permission of the owner (and must be securely stored; so forget carrying your concealed handgun with your "large capacity magazine" in public), on the premises of a licensed firearm dealer or gunsmith, at a "legal gun range" (though this term is used in several places, it is not legally defined anywhere in ORS), at a firearms competition or exhibition, or while transporting between these "approved" places.
  • You may not sell or transfer your registered private property, except to a licensed dealer or gunsmith for repair.
  • You may not ever purchase another "assault weapon" or "large capacity magazine".
  • You must report the loss or theft of an "assault weapon" or "large capacity magazine" within 48 hours of the discovery of loss or theft.

Sounds great, right? [/UPDATE]

Right now, it's in the first stage of the referendum process, gathering sponsorship signatures. They only need 1,000 for this — that should be a breeze in ultra-"Progressive" Portland(ia) — so expect that to happen quickly. Then the state's Attorney General will draft an "impartial title" for the measure (if there is such a thing for this type of measure).

After that comes the big petition drive. Since this is a petition for a statutory change and not a constitutional change, the threshold to get it on the ballot is lower: 6% of the number of votes in the last gubernatorial election, or 88,184 signatures. Again, in uber-liberal Portland(ia), that shouldn't be too hard, especially if they mislead prospective signers on the effects of the bill — which they will; giving the (probably undeserved) benefit of doubt, I'm not entirely sure they realize themselves what they're proposing.

The advice from the last post still applies: wake up every gun owner you know, get them registered to vote if they aren't already, and implore them to vote "No" on this monster. Oregon is a 100% absentee voting state, so all most of them have to do is mark "No" and mail the ballot. Should be easy peasy, but it's going to take all hands on deck come election day.

Even better, though, would be if we build up a large group of pro-gun activists to reach out to non-gun-owners and get THEM to vote against it, too. If we're going to beat this thing, we CANNOT let a small minority try to carry all the burden for the rest.

My next project will be to come up with photos of firearms they want people to think they're targeting, versus what's actually covered, and circulate the comparison as a meme. It'll post here first.

As always, stay safe.

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