In the coming days, Oregon voters will be asked if they support much tighter gun control measures. If approved, a ballot initiative in that state would mandate that anybody seeking to purchase a firearm pay a fee, complete a safety course, provide their fingerprints, and pass a background check in order to acquire a permit. High-capacity magazines, or those that can store 10 rounds or more, would be outright prohibited.
With these limitations, Oregon would join a small group of other states that have some of the most stringent gun laws in the country. Experts speculate that this may be in part due to the fact that the process of passing a ballot proposal rarely necessitates the compromises and concessions that are typically associated with the legislative process of establishing a law.
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What’s been interesting, according to Josh Horwitz, co-director of the Center for Gun Violence Solutions at Johns Hopkins University, is how skilled advocates have grown in deploying these techniques. “I do believe that other governments could profit from this approach.” Gun control laws have been passed in Washington state using the ballot measure method.
The Oregon State Sheriffs’ Association, along with a number of gun-owner organisations, oppose the initiative on the grounds that it would make it harder for people to get firearms lawfully while doing nothing to stop the illicit use of firearms. According to Amy Patrick of the Oregon Hunters Association, some opponents contend that increasing law enforcement is an alternative strategy for reducing gun crime. “Whether that’s having more prosecutors, whether that’s investing in more officers on the street,” she adds.
National gun violence experts differ. “The evidence is unmistakable. These projects’ policies will save lives, “affirms Horwitz. He cites research from numerous other states that shows a connection between the availability of firearms and lower homicide rates. 22 years after the state of Connecticut established a permitting statute, the homicide rate fell by 28%.
A grassroots group of volunteers and community activists, including elementary school students and retired baby boomers, have spearheaded the campaign. The issue is extremely personal to many people.
Recently, Charlene McGee spent the morning canvassing a northeast Portland area. She left Liberia together with her parents. She claims that because she was exposed to combat as a youngster, she understood the danger of guns at a young age. As a child, she recalls, “my ears just knew the sounds of different sorts of guns.” Like the AK-47 was the most common.
On this day, many of the people she spoke with were enthused about the proposal, but she made an effort to win over at least one sceptic. Lionel Irving declared, “I’m a perpetrator of gun violence.” I am too familiar with gun violence, therefore. Irving established a nonprofit to assist people in ending the cycle of gun violence after serving time for manslaughter.
He expressed to McGee his concern that the proposal might lead to stricter penalties for those who carry guns without a permit, which he believes will unfairly affect people of color
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McGee responded, holding up her own arm alongside his, saying, “Look at the skin. She informed him, “I have a 14-year-old.” “You have my full understanding. But this is not what it is at all.”
Following the conversation, McGee said she hoped she had persuaded him to change his viewpoint but that it had been a satisfying exchange anyway. Despite having opposing points of view, the two were able to communicate well. She claimed that despite its flaws, democracy has its true beauty, which she can now clearly see.
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