Backers of a proposal that would have required Oregonians to lock up their guns announced Wednesday they are shelving their effort for now.
The group behind the proposal to strengthen the state’s gun laws, which includes two people who lost family members during the 2012 mass shootings at the Clackamas Town Center mall, said they will work to strengthen the state’s gun-storage requirements during the 2019 legislative session and ask voters to weigh in on the issue again in 2020.
The group blamed the gun lobby for stymieing their ability to collect enough signatures to qualify for the November ballot.
Initiative Petition 44, which supporters called “Oregonians for Safe Gun Storage and Reporting Lost/Stolen Firearms,” would have required guns to be secured with trigger locks or in a locked container when they weren’t being used. The measure would have also required firearm owners to report stolen weapons to the police within 24 hours.
Henry Wessinger, one of the chief petitioners, said the group had support for the measure, but legal challenges from opponents left little time to gather the required signatures before the July 6 deadline.
The National Rifle Association, Oregon Firearms Federation and Oregon Hunters Association, among others, filed an appeal to the measure, arguing against specific ballot language and that the proposal would make it harder for gun owners to defend themselves.
OFF Director Kevin Starrett wrote the law “would require Oregonians to compromise their personal safety by rendering their firearms temporarily inoperable in situations when they pose little or no threat of unauthorized use.”
Supporters of the storage measure said the shooting at Clackamas Town Center could have been avoided.
“That shooting was made possible because the shooter’s friend left his gun unsecured and did not report the theft. If this measure had been in place at that time, that shooting might never have occurred,” a statement from the group read.
The initiative was one of two Oregon gun control proposals filed after a school shooting in Parkland, Florida. The other, IP 43, would restrict possession of military-style semi-automatic weapons and high-capacity magazines in Oregon.