PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — In a month, Oregonians will have the chance to vote on a measure that could have some major impacts on gun control in the state.
Measure 114 is on the ballot, after years of faith leaders and volunteers pushing for the gun reform to become law.
The measure includes a permit-to-purchase requirement and it would also ban the sale of magazines that hold more than 10 rounds, with an exception for military and law enforcement members.
The debate over whether this will make the state safer is heating up as the time to vote gets closer.
Rev. Dr. Leroy Haynes is a member of Lift Every Voice Oregon, a group of faith leaders who have been trying for years to pass gun control reform in Oregon.
From the pews of his historic church, he told KOIN 6 News he’s praying for change.
“It is a passion for us, especially for the faith community. It’s a moral and humanitarian issue,” he said.
The group started their work in response to mass shootings, but Haynes says they are also hopeful it could help stem rising gun violence and homicides locally.
“We have weapons of war on our streets today and any time you see a shooting report that 60 shots were fired, that’s an automatic weapon,” Haynes said.
Measure 114 includes a permit-to-purchase requirement and would ban the sale of magazines that hold more than 10 rounds, with an exception for military and law enforcement members.
Daniel Webster, a professor at Johns Hopkins University, says their research shows laws like this work.
“We have other studies where we looked at urban counties throughout the states, we estimated an 11% lower rate of firearm homicides associated with these types of laws,” he said. “We estimate a 54% lower rate of fatal mass shootings associated with these laws.”
But the National Rifle Association doesn’t think Measure 114 will make anyone safer.
“I was surprised to see this make the ballot,” said Oregon NRA Director Aoibheann Cline.
Cline says all the law does is target lawful gun owners.
“Not only is this the most egregious gun control program, it does nothing to address gun violence. In fact, it will actually just be a systematic end to lawful gun ownership in the state of Oregon,” she said. “Not only will it ban any magazine over 10 rounds, that is a standard capacity magazine issued on most lawful firearms. There’s a lot of issues of the 10 rounds and what that does.”
Cline also said that the NRA has concerns with the permitting process.
“In order to get that permit, you have to take a class,” she said. “In order to pass the class, in order to get a firearm, you have to have a gun. It also says the law enforcement agency can ask for anything else they deem necessary to issue the permit. That creates this opportunity for abuse of discretion.”
But Haynes reiterated that Measure 114 is a step in the right direction to make our state and country safer.
“My prayer is when people look at the ballot…let their heart speak to them, we must do something to save our children,” he said.
KOIN 6 reached out to the people behind Measure 114 about the NRA’s comments. They say “Oregon state police will formulate the rules for the permitting process and they will effectively uphold all laws and the United States Constitution.”
They also say there’s no requirement to own a gun, and shooting ranges can provide one if necessary. Additionally, they said, “Ten rounds will continue to be permitted to be sold with guns since Measure 114 only restricts the sale and use of military-grade, high-capacity magazines over 10 rounds.”