The group seeking to repeal a gun control measure passed by the 2017 Legislature said this morning it failed to gather the nearly 59,000 valid signatures required to place the measure on the January 2018 special election ballot.
“It wasn’t for lack of support. We just simply did not have enough time. I blame Governor Kate Brown for that,” said Chief Petitioner Mike Nearman (R-Indpendence) said in a statement.
The group sought to repeal a law passed by the Oregon Legislature that would allow families and police to block some gun ownership with what the law calls “an extreme risk protection order,” swearing under oath that the person who possesses the weapons is a danger to himself or others.
Another chief-petitioner, state Rep. Bill Post (R-Keizer) said Gov. Kate Brown cost the repeal campaign vital signature gathering time. The campaign had 90 days from July 7, the end of session to gather signatures, but could not begin that effort until Brown signed the bill into law. That didn’t happen until Aug. 15.
“The foot-dragging by Governor Brown cost us 39 of our 90 days. To make matters worse, she signed the bill on the Friday before the eclipse, so that cost us an extra three days,” Post said in a statement. “There was no reason to do this other than to keep us from gathering signatures and keep this issue from a vote of the people.”
Nearman said he and his co-petitioners were nonetheless encouraged by the reception their repeal got and intend to continue to protect the rights of gun owners.
“The response was overwhelming,” Nearman said. “The gun grabbers are on notice that we have an organization that can put a measure on the ballot, so that the people can vote on it.”
The group says it collected fewer than 25,000 signatures.
UPDATE, 4:08 pm: State Sen. Ginny Burdick (D-Portland), who sponsored the gun-control law, says the repeal effort was quixotic.
“The referral campaign’s failure is a victory for Oregon,” Burdick said in a statement. “Senate Bill 719 will help prevent suicide and other dangerous behavior by keeping guns away from people at risk of harming themselves or others. We already knew that the provisions of SB 719 are widely supported by voters—a ballot measure to implement the Extreme Risk Protection Order in Washington passed statewide with about 70 percent of the vote last November.
“Now, we can get to work to make sure that Oregonians know about the new law so that they can act in support of Oregonians who are at risk.”