Ceasefire Oregon, NRA agree assault weapons ban would bar nearly all semi-automatic sales
The National Rifle Association and the gun control group Ceasefire Oregon don't agree on much, but KATU discovered they both believe a proposed ban on assault weapons in the state would effectively bar sales of nearly all semi-automatic guns.
Robert Humelbaugh, a gun salesman in Salem, called the proposed ban "a phenomenally poorly-worded and poorly-thought-out measure."
He took the time, however, to show a KATU reporter which guns would be affected in the store where he works, Tick Licker Firearms on Commercial Street Southeast.
Ceasefire Oregon took issue with some of his claims.
High school students like Xavier Juhala and local religious leaders filed signed petitions in Salem on Monday to move the initiative process forward.
"Law-abiding citizens don't need weapons of war on the streets," Juhala said.
He and other backers of the measure still have a lot of work to do to get it on the November ballot. The secretary of state's office has 10 business days to verify the nearly 3,400 signatures they submitted before the attorney general's office decides on a name for the ballot measure. Once the attorney general approves the ballot measure title, supporters will have to gather about 86,000 more signatures by July 6 to get it on the November ballot.
"We're faith leaders and we understand when we're told 'impossible,' God has other things in store," Rev. Mark Knutson, one of the chief petitioners, told KATU on Monday.
The proposed measure would outlaw sales of assault weapons (defined here) and magazines that hold more than 10 rounds. And it would require current owners of those items to register them within 120 days or face felony charges.
Humelbaugh said the proposal has been great for business.
"We can't keep an AR-15 in stock," he explained, telling KATU most of the guns on a display wall in the store would be banned under the measure.
He said he believes the proposal is unconstitutional and that many of the features it would ban on semi-automatic weapons are cosmetic.
"They say 'pistol grip.' They think pistol grips have some sort of magic power," Humelbaugh said. "How does a pistol grip increase the lethality of a weapon?"
He also said he takes issue with rules against bayonet mounts and flash suppressors.
"When was the last mass bayoneting? Have we ever had an issue with bayoneting in America?" Humelbaugh asked. "Do we really care about the flash coming out of the end of the barrel? Does that do anything?"
Penny Okamoto, the executive director of Ceasefire Oregon, said the rules are important.
"If they were cosmetic features they wouldn't be part of the gun," she told a KATU reporter. "We know that they're made so they are easier to shoot this very highly-lethal weapon."
Humelbaugh said the registration aspect of the measure is like something out of the Soviet Union and that the writers of it are ignorant.
"The guy in Florida, the perpetrator," he explained referring to mass shooting suspect, Nikolas Cruz, "he used 10-round magazines in the school. Not hard to change a magazine."
Okamoto said Ceasefire Oregon supports the measure but would prefer magazines be limited to holding just five rounds each.
She said they're confident the initiative is constitutional because it's similar to laws in seven other states (HI, CA, NJ, NY, MD, MA, CT) and the District of Columbia.