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Voters can comment on gun initiative titles

Comments must be made in writing before 5 p.m. on the day of the comment deadline to the Elections Division of the Oregon Secretary of State's Office.

CLAIRE WITHYCOMBE/CAPITAL BUREAU - Volunteers for a citizens' initiative petition campaign to restrict assault-style weapons in Oregon sing at Augustana Lutheran Church in Northeast Portland before a training on gathering signatures in support of the petition.PORTLAND — Registered voters have time to submit comments on the "legal sufficiency of draft ballot titles released by Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum for two gun-related citizen initiative petitions that could be on the ballot in November.

Voters have until May 8 to comment on a proposed ballot title for a measure that would criminalize the transfer and possession of certain firearms — intended to restrict "assault-style" weapons and high-capacity magazines — in Oregon.

And they have until May 15 to comment on another ballot measure that would impose new requirements on firearm storage.

Comments must be made in writing before 5 p.m. on the day of the comment deadline to the Elections Division of the Oregon Secretary of State's Office.

Initiative Petition 44 would require that firearms to be secured with a trigger or cable lock engaged, or in a locked container equipped with a tamper-resistant lock. The draft ballot title for the initiative petition was released Tuesday.

It would also require anybody who "owns, possesses or controls" a firearm to report the gun as stolen or lost within 24 hours of the theft or loss.

Last week, the draft ballot title for Initiative Petition 43, an "assault weapons" ban, was published, It says that the measure would criminalize possession and transfer of "assault weapons" and "large-capacity magazines," except for military and law enforcement purposes. The draft ballot title says that "Assault weapons include certain semiautomatic rifles or pistols with a detachable magazine; pistol or rifles with a fixed magazine holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition;certain semiautomatic shotguns."

And the draft ballot title defines a large capacity magazine as an "ammunition feeding device with capacity of more than ten rounds."

The measure would go into effect Jan. 1, 2019.

Oregonians who already own those types of firearms and magazines would be required to undergo a background check and register them with the Oregon State Police if they wanted to keep them.

A group of interfaith and youth leaders are behind the measure, galvanized by the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.

The Lift Every Voice Campaign, which is advocating for IP 43, held a signature-gathering training at Augustana Lutheran Church in Northeast Portland Monday night. It wants to use an all-volunteer group rather than paying signature gatherers, says one of the sponsors of the petition, the Rev. W.J. Mark Knutson.

Members of the press, including the EO/Pamplin Capital Bureau, were asked to leave during the actual training, but were permitted to attend the opening and closing remarks.

The petition must get 88,184 valid signatures by July 6 to qualify for the ballot, according to the secretary of state's office.

Knutson acknowledges the tight timeline for signature-gathering, and says his group wants to train thousands of volunteers around the state to gather the required signatures.

After considering comments on draft ballot titles for initiative petitions, the attorney general issues a certified ballot title and files it with the Elections Division. If a registered voter is dissatisfied with the certified ballot title, he or she can petition the Oregon Supreme Court to review the ballot title.

In order to submit your comments, voters can email irrlistnotifier.sos.oregon.gov; fax 503-373-7414 and send them via mail to 255 Capitol Street NE, Suite 501, Salem, OR 97310.