A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

How to create lots of felons

Written March 23rd, 2018 by Hasso Hering

The initiative would ban the sale and possession of rifles like these.

Initiative Petition No. 43, filed with the Oregon state elections office in Salem on Thursday, seeks to ban a certain type of semiautomatic rifle along with most semiautomatic pistols and their magazines. If it passes, how would this be enforced?

The proposal by three Portland petitioners needs 1,000 signatures in order to get a ballot title. Then, it needs about 88,000 signatures by July 6 to get on the ballot for the November general election. (Proposal 43 replaces but seems identical to Proposal 42, which was filed a couple of days before and then, for some reason, withdrawn.)

Given the current mobilization of anti-gun sentiment around the country, there’s a good chance we’ll be voting on this in November. And experience in recent elections says it would be a mistake to expect this measure to fail.

So if the initiative becomes law on Jan. 1, 2019, what would be the effect? Owners of the rifles with features described in the text — pistol grips, barrel shrouds and so forth — would have to get rid of them within 120 days or register them with the state police. The same for owners of semiautomatic handguns and magazines capable of being loaded with more than 10 rounds.

After that, people caught possessing any of the prohibited items could be charged with a Class B felony, which is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. So the risk of defying the new ban would be great.

I don’t have the numbers but assume that tens of thousands of people in Oregon own the type of semiautomatic pistol that would be banned. Each would have more than one of the prohibited magazines. Even if the guns are signed up as the measure requires, how would you register the magazines with the police? The measure says owners would have to supply “information sufficient to identify” each magazine. All magazines for a certain make of weapon look the same, so how could they be identified?

To register weapons and magazines, owners would have to prove to the police that the items are securely stored. How could that be done? Even if owners submit photos of their gun safes, what’s to prove the items are securely locked up from one day to the next? Daily home inspections?

In short, carrying out this proposal would be difficult at best, and the number of violations — either willful and defiant or inadvertent — would likely be large. So one likely consequence of this initiative is that a whole lot of previously law-abiding Oregon taxpayers, probably numbering in the thousands or tens of thousands, people who pose no threat to anyone — would become felons 120 days after the measure takes effect. (hh)

23 responses to “How to create lots of felons”

  1. Curious Citizen says:

    Thanks for the article.
    This initiative petition is disturbing for law abiding gun owners and for those that value civil liberties, imo.

  2. Philip says:

    You omit to mention that if you register, rather than destroy the firearms and magazines, their use is highly restricted, basically they can only be on your property or at a range. Within the metropolitan areas of Oregon there are few ranges and membership is oth expensive and full.

  3. Craig says:

    The group and the media is selling this as an Assault Weapons Ban. Every Gun owner and the public needs to know that this is dishonest. It will ban many rifles, handguns, magazines, shotguns and highly limit where they can even be used. Within 120 days of it becoming law you MUST; remove the gun from the State, render it completely inoperable, sell it to a gun store (what are they going to do with it ?) or turn it over to the State Police. Some, depending on what qualifications are set up can REGISTER their weapon at probably some high fee. Every gun and magazine would need to be registered. The left has said we are not coming for your guns…well they ARE ! My 22 cal rifle from childhood would be illegal, even my little 22 pistol. Rifles and shotgun too. As far as your questions Hasso…those would all be dealt with through Administrative rules. The proposed bill is 5 pages long. The rules will be likely hundreds. THE QUESTION NO ONE HAS ANSWERED: How are regulations like this, placed upon HONEST citizen gun owners going to stop criminal behavior ? It won’t ! People like me, some native Oregonians… we grew up fishing, hunting, target shooting, camping, etc. We understand that guns are not evil. But we feel demonized because we grew up different than someone not exposed to guns. So they want to make illegal what they fear and do not understand. DO NOT sign petition number 43 !

  4. Bob Woods says:

    A few things..

    I have not yet read the initiative yet, but I suspect from some of the initial buzz it may not be worded in the way that will garner enough support to make the ballot.

    Ex Post Facto laws protect a citizen from being convicted of a crime for doing something in the past that was legal at the time. If you have a gun that was legal at the time it is still legal for you to possess it.

    Restricting the use of anything is legal, and for guns Justice Antonin Scalia made it specifically and unequically clear that they are included too.

    It may be news to Hasso and a lot of folks that cops don’t go door to door just looking to arrest people for crimes they might find. Never happens.

    If, however, you are suspected of a crime and the police get a search warrant, if they find additional violations they might seek an additional warrant to enforce gun laws. The idea of mass roundups that the NRA likes to popularize are absolute lies that only fools buy into. Show us when it has occurred.

    If 10 rounds in a magazine isn’t enough for you to hit what you shoot at, you’re probably too incompetent to have a gun in any case. Those that want 30 round clips are arming for war. That alone is enough to warrant a medical evaluation in my view.

    Rambo wannabe’s, Militia members and those arming to stave off a perceived imminent assault by the FBI, ATF, US Marshals, National Guard, Sheriff Deputies or local Police, because they believe that the government is plotting to get them, are not sane. A sane person knows that with today’s technology a drone or cruise missile could take out their house without much effort.

    If the cops show up in force it’s because they have a damn good reason.

    Very few liberals oppose having a gun for personal protection, which has been ruled to be a personal right, or for collecting, hunting, or target shooting.

    Military weapons of war may be fun to shoot, but there’s no question that their use is for one thing only – slaughtering humans in large numbers. You want to fire them and slaughter people? Then join the military, National Guard, or even better move to a third world hell-hole of your choice.

    • centrist says:

      Well stated. This isn’t likely to survive, but will certainly provoke lively discussion. I’d like to think that an effective compromise arises. Frankly tho’, I expect that the smoke and angst from the FUD-bombs will maintain the status quo.
      If nothing changes, nothing changes.

    • VanessaRedmond says:

      Mr. Woods, after you read the initiative you may wish to revise your comments.

      You have reviewed the movie without watching it!

  5. Lynn M says:

    I am not a fan of guns, but I know people like to hunt and some people keep them because they help them feel safe.
    But they also are used as tools by people to hurt and kill others.
    Every time there is yet another shooting, more ideas on how to regulate the guns is front and center. I don’t think any amount of regulation will curtail or prevent the rage behind these assaults.
    Responsible gun owners, for the most part, already follow the rules; they register their guns, they keep them locked up. I suspect they will continue to do so and do their best to follow whatever new laws that may be passed.
    On the other hand, criminals and those with the kind of disturbances that drove them to the attacks will just laugh and carry on.

  6. VanessaRedmond says:

    Mr. Hering, being as this is your blog I’d also expect you to read the initiative central to your post. Clear references are made to registration of assault weapons and large capacity magazines in SECTION 6. (1) of the I42 version (curiously I43 is not really findable online).

    Administrative rules will implement the problematic details of the passed initiative, things like registries and computer systems for same. Could tack it onto DMV like everything else, check a box that you have no assault weapons or large capacity magazines to renew your driving license.

    Felony of course if you check it wrong.

    Many will leave to less socialist states if it passes. Most of us with lives don’t wish to have felony liability and attendant financial ruin if a child misspeaks in school, or has previously answered a doctor’s question about guns in the home to provoke a search after May 1st 2019.

    • HowlingCicada says:

      “… I43 is not really findable online.”

      That link would be it, but right now the entire oregonvotes website is down. Attacked by trolls?

      You can get it from Google cache:
      1 – Google “043text.pdf” (with or without the quotes).
      2 – It showed up on the 1st result (may vary). Click on the downward-pointing triangle appearing to the right of the above link. A box with “Cached” should appear.
      3 – Click on that for a text version of the document which looks good but might not be 100% accurate or complete.

      • Bob Woods says:

        Thanks Howling, link worked fine this morning.

        The highlights are pretty clear:

        1) Defines what is an assault weapon
        2) Prohibits the sale or transfer of those kinds of weapons, except in certain circumstances, including inheritance
        3) Says you can keep it if you currently lawfully own it
        4) Requires you to register any assault weapon or high capacity magazine you own
        5) Requires you to keep it locked up if you’re not using it

        Absolutely NOTHING in there about round-up’s or house-to-house searches that some people fantasize about.

        Hasso brought up the point about identifying high capacity magazines, but of course that’s pretty easy: If it doesn’t have a serial number, you etch your name or driver’s license number like folks used to do on bicycles and such.

        Here’s the Merriam-Webster definition of “Socialism”:
        1 : any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods. 2 a : a system of society or group living in which there is no private property.

        That certainly doesn’t describe Oregon or any other state in the Union. Some people like to throw out a hot-button word to deliberately lead people astray. It’s called Propaganda.

    • HowlingCicada says:

      “Many will leave to less socialist states if it passes.”

      Would that be more or fewer per capita than left for Canada when Trump was elected?

  7. hj.anony1 says:

    The irony here is that those afflicted with the gun fetish — cases ranging from mild to wild — seem to live in fear.

    Fear of their guns being taken away. Fear of the “guvment”. Fear of crime on their doorsteps. Fear of restrictions. Fear for fear’s sake.

    Those without the fetish, not so much. Oh sweet irony.

  8. centrist says:

    Wow. Such angst and hyperventilation over a petition. It’s as though the petition magically transformed into law. It’s a simple document that contains the thoughts of a group. Holding it sideways won’t reveal secret compartments.

  9. Bob Woods says:

    I’ve been posting here for years because I worked in Albany for 13+ years, and Hasso knows me well. Just who are you? I’ve never seen you post before.

    I Googled Vanessa Redmond, and no one seems to be local. A lot of them have fishy profiles on Facebook or no profiles at all. Are you one of those bloggers from the Internet Research Agency in St. Petersburg Russia? Why don’t you enlighten us to who you really are?

    • VanessaRedmond says:

      Well if you and Mr. Hering are friends then you, sir, keep excellent company. I only stumbled upon his site recently.

      This site seems to be the epitome of what a local newspaper should be: news reporting without a private agenda, a respectfully run public town hall. It is to be treasured in this post-news age. I mean that to be the highest of praise.

      If the initiative fails to get the signatures, great, it was just thinking-out-loud by the folks who wish to take away your rights.

      If otherwise, it will likely soon be the law of the land. No longer an academic question for those who value the second amendment of the US Bill of Rights. It is a big deal to move a family, but not as big a deal as a generation ago. Fight the government? No, losing game.

      If not “socialism” than what is the word for government at many levels (city, school district, other taxing districts, metro, county, state, federal) being in all our business so much more than seems reasonable in a supposedly free society.

      Washington, as the former President, had travelers show up and be house guests sometimes for months at a time. In America today all elected officials of any stature have armed security at all hours. Not a sign of a healthy society. I submit that guns are not the problem, but that gun violence is a symptom of a problem that America has gone astray someplace. A problem of hearts and minds, really, not guns.

      People far smarter than I may be able to identify and remedy it someday. Now, however, I’ve worked all day and am tired, and bid all here a peaceful adieu.

      • Bob Woods says:

        “Well if you and Mr. Hering are friends then you, sir, keep excellent company. I only stumbled upon his site recently.”

        Friends is a bit much. Respected citizens trying to preserve freedom would be about right.

        “This site seems to be the epitome of what a local newspaper should be: news reporting without a private agenda, ”

        It’s a blog representing Hasso’s views. You make it sound like a religion.

        “If the initiative fails to get the signatures, great, it was just thinking-out-loud by the folks who wish to take away your rights.”

        No, that’s BS. It’s about citizens that are tired of seeing children and adults slaughtered.

        “If not “socialism” than what is the word for government at many levels (city, school district, other taxing districts, metro, county, state, federal) ”

        It’s called democracy. Maybe you, Putin and the rest of the totalitarian world should give it a try. Those of us here in the United States like it a lot.

        “Washington, as the former President, had travelers show up and be house guests sometimes for months at a time.”

        Well, here in America we have a saying that ‘Fish and guests stink after three days.” Maybe Washington was a better person than the rest of us, but that’s not really an argument about Freedom and Democracy is it?

        “I submit that guns are not the problem, but that gun violence is a symptom of a problem that America has gone astray someplace.”

        Absolutely wrong. As the availability and access to military weapoms has increased the death toll mounts. America has “gone astray” by listening to people like you who are actively subverting our society to impose totalitarian control, like in Russia, China, Venezuela amd those parts of the world controlled by force and through the barrel of a gun. We know who you and your cronies are and we reject them.

        It’s so clear, even high school and other children have joined forces to stop your lies. Very effectively.

        “People far smarter than I may be able to identify and remedy it someday. ”

        You’re right about that, they’re called AMERICANS! And they reject interference by Russians, computer bots, and acolytes of the gun culture.

        Say Hi to Putin, and warn him that the citizens of America will NEVER succumb to pressure from our enemies.

  10. hj.anony1 says:

    Oh my! “VanessaRedmond”

    I, for one, will be parking backwards at the post office in hopes that said petitioner is there. As they often are. LOL.

    Doubt you know what I am referring to since you seem to be a Russian bot. And paid.

    I will sign eagerly just to see where this goes. NRA dues payers need to see what their $$$ buys. Ad time.

  11. Chris says:

    One of the biggest issues I have with this is how it’s written. If the firearm in question has the capacity to take a magazine that holds more then 10 rounds it will have to be registered and can only be used at home or a shooting range. There are manufacturers that make oversized magazines for almost every semi auto pistol. If I understand it correctly, that means that you would no longer be able to use a semi auto for your concealed carry weapon.

  12. Chris says:

    Also, how many people carry a side arm while hunting.

  13. John says:

    Initiative Petition No. 43 is superficially about firearms but it is actually about controlling people. The leftist liberal element that seems to dominate the Portland metropolitan area can potentially out vote the rest of the state on most matters it so chooses. This element which considers all white people to be racists of privilege, all men to be homophobic abusers, and all of us who own firearms to be murderers, holds the largely rural, conservative, and male population in disdain.

    While it is unfair to classify all of the Portland metro population such, that attitude prevails. There is little use in presenting logical arguments to that element as that is the antithesis of what they want to leverage. They desire raw emotion as exercised by the Wall Street demonstrators, Mao’s Red Guard, and Hitler’s youth and brown shirts to overwhelm any logic or sense. Get ready for chants of “Oh, the children” to confront anyone challenging their initial goal.

    Even my own wife falls sway “if it only saves the life of one child”. If this element is successful, does anyone believe they would stop with firearms? Adoption of this measure may not immediately place the state in the dystopia of “The Handmaid’s Tale” but it certainly makes further domination of the Portland metro element over any other matters it chooses likely.

    I fear it also would be fruitless to direct focus on the quotes attributed to the Reverend Martin Niemoller as that logic might apply to those who do not own firearms as such sophistication would be lost on much of the metro area population. Hopefully some will comprehend the relevance.

    Recently I heard on the public broadcasting channel that the billionaire George Soros was or has traveled to Oregon for the expressed purpose of supporting or promoting left leaning attorney’s general or prosecutors. There is real money behind this measure.

    After the school shooting in Florida have we seen any reflection of accountability for the school officials on their prior handling of the shooter, the officers who stood idle while the shooting occurred, the FBI office that ignored the call, or the institution that declined to commit the shooter? The immediate response is to criminalize the law abiding owners of firearms who did not contribute to this tragedy.

    Are we to put faith into any infrastructure that claims for an honest and forthright handling of registration? What about law officer’s personal firearms? For serious collectors of firearms, perhaps we will be allowed to keep one item. Or must we wear a yellow star on our chest?
    Hasso Hering’s central question, “How will it be enforced?” is one of the key points. After the Sandy Hook school shooting the Connecticut legislature passed laws outlawing so-called “assault weapons”. They provided a similar “get rid of them or register them” requirement. They, in fact, told the State Patrol to start rounding up guns whose owners had not complied. But, then they found out that the State Patrol had some of these same unregistered weapons. They called off that idea of using State Patrol and now they are in a quandary about who enforces the law and under what conditions.

    I do agree that the age for owning and operating a deadly weapon should be raised to 21 and ask that the legal age to drive be similarly increased.


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