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Families Of Shooting Victims Back 2nd Gun Initiative For November Ballot

Yet another group seeking tougher gun laws in Oregon is coming forward with a proposed measure for the November ballot.

Supporters on Monday filed an initiative that would require gun owners in Oregon keep their weapons locked up when not in use.  Gun owners could also face greater legal liability if they did not secure their weapons and they were used to injure or kill someone.

This is the second Oregon gun initiative put forth following the February school shooting in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 dead.

Last month, group of ministers and students introduced a measure to ban the sale of military-style firearms in Oregon.

The gun-storage measure has backing from several people — including two who lost relatives in the mass shooting at the Clackamas Town Center mall in 2012 — who have been active in gun politics in Oregon.

Jenna Yuille, whose mother died in the attack, and Paul Kemp, whose brother-in-law was shot and killed, are chief sponsors of the gun storage bill.

Also sponsoring the measure is Henry Wessinger, an heir to the Blitz-Weinhard brewing fortune. He is helping raise money for the effort, according to Jake Weigler, a political consultant working on the measure.

Weigler has worked with a consortium of groups seeking tighter gun laws. He said he expected several of them to be active in helping to qualify the gun storage measure for the ballot.

Yuille said the Clackamas Town Center shooter had stolen an unsecured gun from a friend's house.

"If that gun had been locked up," she said, "it would have been that much harder for him to take the gun and use it to go murder people that day."

Rep. Bill Post, R-Keizer, has been speaking out against the proposed ban on military-style weapons. He said he hasn't yet seen the gun storage measure, but expressed skepticism.

He said he encourages people to lock their guns up, "but I'm going to be the last person to say the government should tell you to do that."

Both gun measures have been filed late in the year for initiative petitions. Each still has to obtain a ballot title — something that frequently requires review by the Oregon Supreme Court — before they can gather the lion's share of the 88,184 valid signatures required to qualify for the ballot. The deadline for turning those signatures in is July 6.

Weigler said his group plans to pay petitioners. Backers of the military-style weapons ban said they will only use volunteer petitioners.

Copyright 2018 Oregon Public Broadcasting

Jeff Mapes is a senior political reporter at Oregon Public Broadcasting. Previously, Jeff covered state and national politics for The Oregonian for nearly 32 years. He has covered numerous presidential, congressional, gubernatorial and ballot measure campaigns, as well as many sessions of the Legislature, stretching back to 1985. Jeff graduated from San Jose State University with a B.A. in journalism.