Gun Confiscation Measure Slogs Along In Oregon
Initiative Petition #43 is slowly making its way through the ballot measure process in Oregon. After a massive response of challenges to the “draft ballot title” were submitted a couple of weeks ago, the state “attorney general” has now issued the “certified ballot title” that reads “Prohibits “assault weapons” (defined), “large capacity magazines” (defined), unless registered with state police. Criminal penalties.”
As previously reported, this ballot measure, should it eventually pass, would outlaw 95% of the guns that are currently out there, and instantly turn thousands grampas into felons for having an old tube fed .22 Marlin in the attic or a piece of plastic with a spring inside of it.
Of course the civil rights prohibitionists who are promoting this ban have to use vague and ambiguous terms like “assault weapons” in order to deceive would-be voters into supporting it. They even go so far as to define things that don’t even exist such as “A threaded barrel capable of accepting a flash suppressor or forward pistol grip” or things that are so loosely defined that interpreting what they actually mean is nearly impossible, such as “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.”
Oregon Firearms Federation released this statement in response to the “certified ballot title”:
The Attorney General has submitted a “modified” ballot title for IP 43, the gun confiscation ballot measure drafted by liberal Portland “clergy”
As you know, this ballot measure would outlaw a vast collection of firearms and ammunition magazines. Some of the banned guns would not even be the dreaded “semi-automatics” that have become the things of legend and myth.
Under IP 43 you would be facing prison time for having a firearm or magazine that you had not “registered “ with the state police. You would have very limited ability to use those items and you can never purchase another one. If you don’t register them and submit to Oregon State Police rules on how you must store them you will be required to turn them into the police, sell them out of state, or destroy them.
The “modified” ballot title can be seen here. This includes the 15 word caption the Attorney General wants to appear in the voter’s guide and the “summary” and effects of both a “yes” and “no” vote on the measure.
As you can see, the Attorney General still insists on using the meaningless, but still inflammatory term “assault weapon” even though she admits that “an accurate definition of that term is impossible to convey in the allotted fifteen words, “
There is no question this is intended to create confusion and fear amongst voters who have no knowledge of firearms. It will no doubt be successful.
Clearly the openly anti Second Amendment Attorney General is hoping to use misleading and incendiary language to encourage people to vote to steal your rights and property.
Rest assured Oregon Firearms will be challenging this dangerous and misleading language in court.
The good news is that any of the 1000+ citizens who submitted a comment on the ballot title now have standing to appeal the “certified ballot title” in the Oregon Supreme Court. Those appeals are due on June 7th. You need to use this form here to file your appeal.
The Secretary of State’s office has issued the certified ballot title for
IP 43: “Prohibits ‘assault weapons’ (defined), ‘large capacity magazines’ (defined), unless registered. Criminal penalties.”
While we wait for legal challenges to be settled, be sure that you and your friends who support gun safety are registered to VOTE!
More than 1000 timely comments were submitted on the draft ballot title for the initiative petition referenced above. We have reviewed each and every comment. While many of the comments simply stated support or opposition to the proposed measure, many hundreds suggested specific language for use in the ballot title. Our usual practice is to individually address each comment letter we received; it is not possible to do so here. However, many of the comments presented the same themes or arguments, and we address those common concerns in this letter.Many of the comments received suggested some confusion about the process for citizen initiative petitions. Some commenters seemed to assume that the Attorney General drafted the proposed measure. Others urged your office to support or oppose the measure, or to simply refuse to place it on the ballot.With particular regard to the Attorney General, her role in the process of drafting the ballot title is to prepare an impartial ballot title that complies with ORS 250.035. The comments on a draft ballot title are an important part of that process, pointing out flaws or nuances that may not be readily apparent. The end result, the certified ballot title, is intended to provide fair and accurate information to voters so that informed choices can be made.A number of comments asserted that the proposed measure violates various provisions of the United States and Oregon Constitutions. With the exception of those procedural provisions of the state constitution that might bar placement of the measure on the ballot, consideration of those constitutional claims is premature at this point. As to claims regarding Article 4, section 1(2)(d) of the Oregon Constitution, we have previously opined that this proposed measure is consistent with the constitutional procedural requirements.The vast majority of the comments were directed to the caption of the ballot title. However, many of the comments were also applicable to the result statements and the summary, and we used the comments to refine our thinking as to all parts of the draft ballot title. As a result, we have made changes to the caption, both result statements, and the summary.A.The captionThe caption for the ballot title of a state measure must reasonably identify the subject matter of the measureand contain no more than 15 words. ORS 250.035(2)(a). The “subject matter” is “the ‘actual major effect’ of a measure or, if the measure has more than one major effect, all such effects (to the limit of the available words).” Lavey v. Kroger, 350 Or 559, 563, 258 P3d 1194 (2011). To identify the “actual major effect” of a measure, the Attorney General must consider the “changes that the proposed measure would enact in the context of existing law.” Rasmussen v. Kroger, 350 Or 281, 285, 253 P3d 1031 (2011). A caption complies substantially with the requirements of ORS 250.035(2)(a) if it identifies the subject matter of the proposed measure in terms that will not confuse or mislead potential petition signers and voters. Mabon v. Myers, 332 Or 633, 637, 33 P3d 988 (2001). The caption is the “cornerstone for the other portions of the ballot title” and its “headline,” and it “provides the context for the reader’s consideration of other information in the ballot title.” Id.The draft ballot title’s caption reads: Criminalizes Possession Or Transfer Of “Assault Weapons” (Defined) Or“Large Capacity Magazines” (Defined), With Exceptions
The vast majority of commenters objected to the use of the term “assault weapons,” even with the reference to the definition in the proposed measure, as an inflammatory, imprecise, or ambiguous term. Unfortunately, an accurate definition of that term is impossible to convey in the allotted fifteen words, particularly since it is not the only subject matter that needs to be conveyed. We have opted to place the term in quotation marks and to note that it is a defined term, and we have utilized the summary of the ballot title to describe more fully what is encompassed within that term.Most commenters also objected to the reference to “large capacity magazines.” Under this proposed measure, even if a firearm itself does not require registration for continued ownership, magazines would have to be registered if they are capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition. It is important to communicate the breadth and scope of this proposal, including its impact on magazines as part of the actual major effect, but again, fifteen words does not allow for a more full description. Here, too, we have used the summary to provide a fuller explanation.The chief petitioners object to the draft caption’s focus on criminal penalties, pointing out that there are other options, including registration. Many other commenters also pointed out that registration is a new and major effect of the measure. Although a background check is done when a gun is purchased, there is currently no state registry of guns, and magazines can be purchased with no restrictions and no identification. Registration is an additional actual major effect of the measure.Although we agree that the draft ballot title overemphasized the significance of criminal penalties, the proposed measure does impose serious criminal consequences for noncompliance, and those penalties are also an actual major effect of the measure.Considering the comments as a whole, we certify the following caption:Prohibits “Assault Weapons” (Defined), “Large Capacity Magazines” (Defined), UnlessRegistered With State Police. Criminal PenaltiesB. “Yes” Result StatementA ballot title must include “[a] simple and understandable statement of not more than 25 words that describes the result if the state measure is approved.” ORS 250.035(2)(b). The “yes” vote result statement should identify “the most significant and immediate” effects of the measure. Novick/Crew v. Myers, 337 Or 568, 574, 100 P3d 1064 (2004). The draft “yes” vote result statement provides:Result of “Yes” Vote: “Yes” vote criminalizes possession/ transfer of “assault weapons” (defined)/ “large capacity magazines (defined), with exceptions for military/ police / registered owner approved by State Police.Few of the commenters focused specifically on the result statements; however, many of their comments apply with equal force to the “yes” statement. The most significant and immediate effect of the measure is to require background checks and registration to lawfully possess assault weapons and large capacity magazines, as defined by the measure. The creation and maintenance of a registry of such items, which does not presently exist, is another significant and immediate effect. Many commenters noted these significant changes in current law.We certify the following “yes” result statement:Result of “Yes” Vote:“Yes” vote prohibits “assault weapons” (defined), “large capacity magazines” (defined), unless registered with State Police afterbackground check. Criminal penalties. State Police must maintain registry.C. “No” Result StatementA ballot title must include “[a] simple and understandable statement of not more than 25 words that describes the result if the state measure is rejected.” ORS 250.035(2)(c). The “no” vote result statement “should ‘address the substance of current law on the subject matter of the proposed measure’ and ‘summarize [ ] the current law accurately.’” McCann v. Rosenblum, 354 Or 701, 707, 320 P3d 548 (2014) (quoting Novick/Crew, 337 Or at 577) (emphasis added in Novick/Crew). The draft “no” vote result statement provides:Result of “No” Vote:“No” vote retains current laws, which bar possession of firearms by certain individuals, including convicted felons, some civillycommitted persons, domestic abusers, other disqualified persons.As drafted, the “no” statement focuses on who may currently purchase firearms. Few commenters focused on this statement; however, those who did, including the chief petitioners, noted that it failed to focus on current law on the subject matter of the measure, including background checks for gun purchases and the lack of a registry for firearms or ammunition magazines. The revised “no” statement corrects these omissions:Result of “No” Vote:“No” vote retains current law requiring background check for firearm purchases, barring purchases by certain individuals, and not requiring registration of firearms or ammunition magazines. As revised, we certify the “no” result statement.D. The SummaryA ballot title must include “[a] concise and impartial statement of not more than 125 words summarizing the state measure and its major effect.” ORS 250.035(2)(d). “The purpose of a ballot title’s summary is to give voters enough information to understand what will happen if the initiative is adopted.” McCann, 354 Or at 708. The draft summary provides:Summary: Measure criminalizes possession or transfer of “assault weapons” (defined)/ “large capacity magazines” (defined) except for military/ law enforcement purposes, or persons authorized by State Police after criminal background check. Otherwise possession or transfer is a Class B felony. Within 120 days, persons lawfully owning such weapons or magazines must remove from Oregon, lawfully sell, surrender to law enforcement, render inoperable, or register items with State Police. Applies to inherited items. Bars moving covered items into Oregon. Assault weapons include certain semiautomatic rifles or pistols with a detachable magazine; pistol or rifles with a fixed magazine holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition; certain semiautomatic shotguns. Large capacity magazine is ammunition feeding device with capacity of more than ten rounds. Effective January 1. 2019. Other provisions.Because there is, as many commenters remarked, no common agreement as to what the terms “assault weapon” and “large capacity magazine” mean, we believe that the summary should set out specifically what items are covered by the measure, and what is required if the initiative is adopted. Thus, the revised summary first states what will occur if the measure passes: prohibition of ownership of the covered items unless they are registered to a qualified owner. The covered items are then listed in as much detail as space allows, noting that some handguns and shotguns are included, and that the measure refers to semiautomatic weapons. The summary then states how the covered items can be disposed of if the owner chooses not to register them, and further states that covered items may not be brought into the state after the effective date of the measure. Finally, the measure specifies locations where registered firearms may be taken or held, which may limit the lawful uses of these firearms.Accordingly, we certify the following summary:Summary: Measure prohibits “assault weapons” (defined), “large capacity magazines” (defined), unless registered with State Police after background check. Criminal penalties. “Assault weapons” definition includes:Semiautomatic rifles with detachable magazine and certain additional features;“Semiautomatic, centerfire or rimfire rifles,” or semiautomatic pistol, capable of holding more than ten bullets with fixed magazine;Semiautomatic centerfire rifles under thirty inches;Semiautomatic handguns with certain additional features;Semiautomatic shotguns with certain additional features;Shotguns with revolving cylinders.“Large capacity magazines” defined as capable of holding over 10 rounds, excluding tubular magazines in .22 caliber or lever-action firearms.Covered items not registered must be sold/ surrendered/ destroyed. State Police must maintain registry. Acquisition mostly prohibited after effective date, January 1, 2019. Measure may limit uses of covered items. Other provisions.E. ConclusionFor the reasons set forth above, we have modified the draft ballot title and certify the ballot title attached to this letter.
Sincerely,/s/ Denise G. Fjordbeck______________________________Denise G. FjordbeckAttorney-in-ChargeCivil/Administrative Appeals