A Portland Church Group Plans to Ask Voters to Ban Assault Weapons in Oregon

About 68 percent of Americans support bans on AR-15-style semiautomatic rifles.

A walkout at Benson Polytechnic High School to protest gun violence. (Sam Gehrke)

A Portland group of religious organizers is pushing to get an initiative to ban AR-15-style semiautomatic rifles in Oregon on the November ballot.

The Interfaith and People of Goodwill Campaign to Ban Assault Weapons will officially launch tomorrow, and hopes to put the question to Oregon voters of whether people should be able to buy some semiautomatic rifles and high-capacity magazines.

The campaign will launch tomorrow night at Augustana Lutheran Church, where Rev. W. J. Mark Knutson has been pressing for such a ban for nearly two years.

The campaign will likely prove divisive in a state where gun control is a wedge issue between urban and rural voters. But support for semiautomatic weapon bans is growing. In recent polls, about 68 percent of Americans support bans on sales of what are commonly known as assault rifles.

The campaign comes one day after hundreds of Portland high school students walked out of classrooms to protest guns and honor the people killed in a mass shooting last month in Parkland, Florida. It also follows moves by several national and local retailers to restrict gun and ammunition sales to people over 21.

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