Religious leaders propose ballot initiative banning assault weapons

The initiative is being proposed by leaders of various faiths because Cahana says this is a moral issue, and not a political one.

Posted: Mar 21, 2018 5:28 PM
Updated: Mar 21, 2018 6:21 PM

PORTLAND, Ore. -- A ballot initiative has been proposed by religious leaders that would ban the sale of all assault weapons and high-capacity magazines in Oregon. 

The measure defines assault weapons as any semi-automatic rifle that has the capacity to accept a detachable magazine, features such as folding or telescoping stocks, or one that can accept more than 10 rounds of ammunition.

It would also require anyone already possessing one of the guns to sell, surrender, or remove it from the state within 120 days of voer approval.

Michael Cahana, one of the organizers behind the initiative, said it is time for people to step up and provide a sense of safety for children growing up with the fear of school shootings. 

He said assault weapons have been a problem for a long time, but after the Parkland, Florida shooting, the need to take action has become more immediate. 

The initiative is being proposed by leaders of various faiths because Cahana, who is a rabbi, said this is a moral issue, and not a political one.

He said he understands it won't stop all shootings, but he is hoping it will make a difference and is a step toward making communities safe. Cahana said so far, there is broad support for the initiative and it has received positive feedback.

"We are making a statement that we choose our children over assault weapons," Cahana said. "That we want to maintain the safety of our children as paramount and we want to work together across all our lines to make sure our children are safe."

However, not everyone agrees. Raye Gunter, the Co-owner of Emerald Valley Armory, said guns aren't the problem.

"It's going to do nothing to prevent crime, it is just going to make law-abiding citizens into criminals because I guarantee a lot of citizens will not turn in their firearms," Gunter said. "It's just not going to happen."

Gunter said it would also hurt business. He said this proposal applies to all semi-automatics, meaning they wouldn't be able to sell a large portion of their guns.

Gunter said this issue is a societal one and we should be looking to address issues other than guns.

In order for the petition to appear on the Nov. 6 ballot, organizers will need 88,000 signatures by July.


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