Attorney general issues ballot title for assault weapons ban

Jamie Lusch

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Oregon's attorney general has released a certified ballot title for an initiative that would restrict the sale of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines in the state.

The title released Wednesday revises the draft caption following comments from the public and the chief petitioners, KATU News confirmed.

It reads: "Prohibits 'Assault Weapons' (Defined), 'Large Capacity Magazines' (Defined), Unless Registered With State Police. Criminal Penalties."

The draft version stated the possession or transfer of the weapons or the magazines would be criminalized with exceptions under the initiative.

A ballot title for a measure is restricted to 15 words and must give the subject matter, according to the state Department of Justice.

The initiative that petitioners are working to get on the November ballot would define assault weapons as certain semi-automatic rifles and pistols that use detachable magazines and have other military-style features.

In addition to restricting assault weapons, the initiative would ban the manufacture and sale of magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition. Law enforcement and military personnel would be exempt.

Existing gun owners would be required to register with the state and pass criminal background checks. Failure to do so would result in criminal prosecution.

The office of state Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum reworked the caption and the explanation of the initiative's effects following the release of the draft title in April.

The state Department of Justice reviewed the more than 1,000 comments, department lawyer Denise G. Fjordbeck said in a letter to the Secretary of State's office Wednesday.

"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," Fjordbeck said.

The issuance of the ballot title was a major milestone for the interfaith group proposing the ban. They celebrated in Northeast Portland on Thursday, but in the wake of yet another school shooting, there was also a tone of urgency.

"If our youth are going to school today, and the only thing they can think about is when it's going to happen, then I think we as adults have to do something responsible," said Imam Muhammad Najeeb, with the Muslim Community Center.

Petitioners must submit 88,184 signatures by early July for the initiative to move to the ballot.

KATU News contributed to this report.

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