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Firearms Ban Could Be On 2020 Oregon Ballot

<p>Guns are splayed out at the gun range during The Liberal Gun Club&rsquo;s winter range day on Jan. 26, 2019 in Portland, Ore.</p>

Jonathan Levinson


Guns are splayed out at the gun range during The Liberal Gun Club’s winter range day on Jan. 26, 2019 in Portland, Ore.

Oregonians might get to vote on a sweeping statewide firearms ban next year.

Earlier this week, retired constitutional lawyer Greg Wasson filed the "Common Sense Gun Regulation Act of 2020," which would ban a variety of semiautomatic firearms. 

A similar petition was thwarted by legal challenges in 2018, and Wasson is hoping to have this one on the Oregon ballot in 2020. 

Wasson doesn’t think every weapon deserves constitutional protection.

“No one would say I have the right to own a nuclear missile,” he said. “Just like I don’t think many people would deny the right to own a handgun.”

He said that somewhere between nuclear weapons and handguns there is a point where the U.S. Constitution no longer applies. 

He said he expects a legal challenge if the ban passes. He even laid out the framework for his argument in the initiative: The right to bear arms, he wrote, is premised “on the safety and security of the individual and society.”

However, the proposed legislation goes on, “The casual, anonymous possession of assault weapons actually threatens the safety and security of both the individual and society and does not qualify for constitutional protection.” 

Organizers must collect 112,000 valid signatures to get on the ballot.

Copyright 2019 Oregon Public Broadcasting

Jonathan Levinson is a multimedia reporter and producer for Oregon Public Broadcasting. He’s the Audion Fellow covering Guns & America.