Oregon Voters Will Consider Gun Control Measure in November

Initiative Petition 17 officially makes the ballot.

What started as a volunteer-led gun control initiative run from a “little church basement” is now a statewide movement whose goal has become reality: an Oregon vote on whether to further restrict gun sales.

Initiative Petition 17, a measure that would ban the sale of high-capacity magazines that hold more than 10 rounds and would require gun buyers to get a permit, formally qualified Monday for the November ballot. The Oregon Secretary of State’s Office has completed verification of the signatures gathered.

The signature-gathering effort was led by the interfaith group Lift Every Voice Oregon. The group filed IP 17 with the secretary of state in April, then relied on volunteers to collect 160,498 signatures, far surpassing the required number of 112,000 to reach the November ballot.

The Rev. Mark Knutson of Augustana Lutheran Church in Portland, the initiative’s chief petitioner, said the measure’s qualification for the ballot affirms the hard work carried out by the movement’s widespread base of volunteers.

“I’m thrilled. Sixteen hundred volunteers—from every county across the state—made it happen,” Knutson tells WW.

The petition cites the role of large-capacity magazines in “mass shooting events from 2009 to 2018,” including the 2015 shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, as reasons Oregon voters should be allowed consider the measure.

The Oregon Supreme Court approved the ballot title for IP 17 in November 2021, but the status of the petition remained uncertain heading into the summer. As of late May, petitioners had managed to submit only 2,538 signatures, well short of the required 112,000, and Knutson estimated the need for an additional “200 to 300 volunteers and $500,000.”

By the end of June, a month during which the nation grappled with the aftermath of the shooting in Uvalde, Texas, support for the initiative had surged: Chief petitioners submitted 96,627 to the Oregon Secretary of State’s Office on June 30. Now Oregonians get the chance to vote on the measure in November.