By: Robert Davis
Voters in both Oregon and Ohio will be faced with a slew of anti-gun ballot measures during the 2020 election season.
In Ohio, voters will see an indirect initiated state statute that would require an unlicensed person wishing to sell or transfer a firearm to another person to conduct the transfer through a licensed gun dealer running a background check.
There are a few ways of getting around this requirement, according the bill’s text, including transferring weapons as a bona fide gift, transfers that prevent a death or suicide, or giving your weapon to a licensed gunsmith for repairs.
The measure is supported by Ohioans for Gun Safety, a left-wing organization that also supports the state’s attempts to pass a red flag law bill and has lobbied against the constitutional carry bill currently being considered the Buckeye State’s legislature. Ohioans For Gun Safety began circulating a petition to put the measure on the ballot shortly after the recent Dayton shooting.
Ohio’s governor, Mike DeWine, told Fox News the state is crafting its new gun control legislation with the help of gun rights supporters in order to respect due process. But many of the state’s ideas, including this ballot measure, would create a path toward a gun registration system, according to real gun rights organizations.
“Background checks are gun registration,” Ryan Flugaur, senior political director at the National association for Gun Rights, told Gunpowder Magazine. “How disappointing that so many Ohio state and federal officials want to register people’s firearms at the same time they’re pushing ‘red flag’ gun confiscation legislation.”
The Buckeye Firearms Association also pushed back against the governor’s support for universal background checks by arguing that the system would not have stopped the Dayton shooter and doesn’t have the teeth to stop any other shootings.
“Proponents of so-called ‘universal’ background checks claim this legislation is the ‘most important’ thing that can be done to stop dangerous people from obtaining firearms. This is a lie,” the organization said in a press release. “There is no evidence that expanded background checks are useful for this purpose. Criminals are not deterred by background checks.”
Oregonians are taking a much firmer stance against gun rights heading into the 2020 election cycle by introducing several citizen-initiated ballot measures that would roll back Second Amendment rights for law-abiding gun owners.
CISS 17 would create a state-wide ban on assault weapons that could make many gun owners in Oregon instant felons if it passes. The measure carries a penalty of a maximum 10-year jail sentence and a $250,000 fine.
The law would not apply to law enforcement or government officials or to gun manufacturers who sell their weapons to branches of the military. Residents would have 120 days to comply with the law by turning their weapons over to local law enforcement agencies who would then destroy the firearms.
“The casual, anonymous possession of assault weapons actually threatens the safety and security of both the individual and society and does not qualify for constitutional protection,” the bill reads.
Greg Wasson, former CEO of Walgreens, is leading the charge for the so-called assault weapons ban. Wasson was forced out of his position in the company after the Securities and Exchange Commission made Walgreens pay a $34.5 million fine for misleading investors.
To counter the anti-gun initiatives, gun rights advocates have introduced gun safety initiatives and an initiative to declare ownership of semiautomatic weapons to be a constitutional right.
CISS 6 and CISS 11 would create an annual gun safety class for sixth graders in Oregon, but would allow parents to sign an opt-out waiver to have their children removed from those classes.
CICA 8 would amend Article 1 of Oregon’s constitution, which protects a resident’s right to bear arms for self-defense. The proposed measure would create a Constitutional right to “possess, use, and transfer semiautomatic and ‘functionally similar’ firearms that are currently available for civilian purchase under federal statutes,” according to the initiative’s text.
Robert Davis is a general assignment reporter for Gunpowder Magazine. You can contact him with tips or comments at RobertDavis0414 (at) gmail.com.