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Oregon initiative would outlaw assault weapons, unless guns are registered with police

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By: KATU Staff

SALEM, Ore. — A recently filed Oregon initiative would make manufacturing, importing, possessing, purchasing or selling an assault weapon or large capacity magazine a crime -- with only a few exceptions.

If passed, Oregon Initiative 42 would only allow owners to keep their assault weapons and large capacity magazines if they register them with Oregon State Police.

"I don’t like to use that phrase, but this time, when they say they’re coming to get your guns, this actually would be coming to get your guns," said Oregon state Rep. Bill Post, R-Keizer.

Ceasefire Oregon is one of the groups behind the initiative and Executive Director Penny Okamoto says that's not the case.

"We’ve heard this for 20 years: 'They’re coming for our guns; they’re coming for our guns.' Obama was coming for our guns. Ultimately, it never happened," Okamoto said.

If the initiative goes into effect, anyone who owns an assault weapon or large capacity magazine will be required to remove them from the state, sell the items, surrender the items to a law enforcement agency for destruction, render the assault weapon permanently inoperable or, if eligible, register the assault weapon or large capacity magazine with Oregon State Police within 120 days.

Anyone who moves into Oregon with an assault weapon would have 120 days to surrender it to law enforcement, transfer it to a licensed firearm dealer, render it permanently inoperable or register it.

Unlawful possession or transfer of an assault weapon or large capacity magazine would be a Class B felony.

In order to register an assault weapon under the act, the owner would need to submit a form to the Oregon State Police with the owner’s name and address and identification number of the assault weapon. The owner must also allow police to conduct a criminal background check to confirm the person is not a prohibited possessor.

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Anyone hoping to register an assault weapon or large capacity magazine must prove to police that the items are securely stored and that they are only kept on property owned by the registered owner or on someone else’s property with express permission.

The initiative includes exceptions for government officers, members of the armed forces or peace officers. It would also allow firearm manufacturers to the build assault weapons to sell to the armed forces or law enforcement agencies in Oregon.

Sales and transfers of the weapons or large capacity magazines would only be allowed between licensed firearms dealers and branches of the armed forces or law enforcement agencies in Oregon.

The initiative defines an assault weapon as:

• A semiautomatic rifle that has the capacity to accept a detachable magazine and has at least one of the following:

  • Any grip of the weapon, including a pistol grip, a thumbhole stork or any other stock
  • Any feature capable of functioning as a protruding grip that can be held by the non-trigger hand
  • A folding or telescoping stock
  • A shroud attached to the barrel, or that partially or completely encircles the barrel
  • A forward pistol grip
  • A flash suppressor, muzzle brake, muzzle compensator, or threaded barrel designed to accommodate a flash suppressor, muzzle brake, or muzzle compensator
  • A bayonet mount or a grenade launcher or flare launcher

• A semiautomatic pistol, or any semiautomatic, centerfire or rimfire rifle with a fixed magazine, that has the capacity to accept more than 10 rounds of ammunition.
• A semiautomatic, centerfire rifle that has an overall length of less than 30 inches

• A semiautomatic pistol that has the capacity to accept a detachable magazine and has at least one of the following:

  • Any feature capable of functioning as a protruding grip that can be held by the non-trigger hand
  • A folding, telescoping or thumbhole stock
  • A shroud attached to the barrel, or that partially or completely encircles the barrel
  • The capacity to accept a detachable magazine at any location outside of the pistol grip
  • A threaded barrel capable of accepting a flash suppressor or forward pistol grip

• Semiautomatic shotgun that has both of the following:

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  • Any grip of the weapon, including a pistol grip, a thumbhole stock or any other stock
  • A folding telescoping stock

• Semiautomatic shotgun that has at least one of the following:

  • A fixed magazine capacity in excess of 10 rounds or an ability to accept a detachable magazine

• Shotgun with a revolving cylinder and conversion kit, part or combination of parts from which an assault weapon can be assembled if those parts are in the possession or under control of the same person.
A large capacity magazine is defined as any ammunition feeding device with the capacity to accept more than 10 rounds or any conversion kit or combination or parts from which such a device can be assembled

At the end of the day, Post feels this sort of proposal is threatening to law abiding, gun owners in Oregon.

"This is not so much a gun confiscation ballot measure as it is a registry and that should scare people. Registration is the next step to confiscations, so I would just say that," Post said.

Still, advocates believe removing the bulk of assault-style weapons from Oregon's landscape will help prevent mass shootings in the future.

"Even if someone commits a mass shooting with a different type of firearm, especially without a high-cap magazine, that’s going to reduce the gunshot death and injury, so we know that for a fact, we have good studies on that," Okamoto said.

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