The Oregon Supreme Court nixed a gun control ballot initiative Wednesday citing vagueness and imprecision of the term “assault weapons.”
The initiative is intended to ban commonly owned semi-automatic rifles and “high capacity” magazines.
The Oregonian reports that the Oregon high court’s ruling came after clergy in the Portland area worked to gather the “88,184 signatures necessary to get [the initiative] on the November ballot.” The wording of the initiative will now have to be changed and the 80,000-plus signatures required to get the initiative on the ballot will have to be collected all over again, all before July 6.
The catch is that signatures cannot be collected until the new language is approved.
The initiative requires that persons currently in lawful possession of “assault weapons” and/or “high capacity” magazines get rid of the firearms and accessories within a four-month time frame. It says, “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.”
Chief Justice Thomas Balmer pointed out that the initiative’s imprecise language could lead to broader criminalization than intended. He pointed to the ballot title, “Prohibits ‘Assault Weapons’ (Defined), ‘Large Capacity Magazines’ (Defined), Unless Registered With State Police. Criminal Penalties,” and observed, “We conclude that the (ballot title) caption could accurately state that the proposed measure would criminalize the possession and transfer of many semiautomatic weapons, as well as magazines holding over 10 rounds.”
AWR Hawkins is an award-winning Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News, the host of the Breitbart podcast Bullets with AWR Hawkins, and the writer/curator of Down Range with AWR Hawkins, a weekly newsletter focused on all things Second Amendment, also for Breitbart News. He is the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Sign up to get Down Range at breitbart.com/downrange.