The insanely broad "assault weapons" definition used by the small town of Deerfield, Illinois, to prohibit common peashooters has now migrated to the entire state of Oregon.
This week activists in support of Initiative 43 received a draft ballot title from the state's attorney general, which describes the initiative as criminalizing the "possession or transfer of 'assault weapons' (defined) or 'large capacity magazines' (defined), with exceptions."
As the parentheticals suggest, there is a lot in a name.
This prospective ban—which is being pushed by an interfaith coalition of Portland-area clergymen—gives a couple definitions for assault weapons.
The first is the fairly typical definition of any weapon that can accept a detachable magazine and has one of several additional features, including a folding stock, pistol grip, or muzzle brake.
The second definition, however, bans any "any semiautomatic, centerfire or rimfire rifle with a fixed magazine, that has the capacity to accept more than 10 rounds of ammunition." This sweeping language catches up not just scary looking AR-15's, but also encompasses common target shooting rifles that are particularly ill-suited to the commission of any gun crimes.
For instance, it includes rifles like the Marlin Model 60, a semi-automatic .22 rifle that has been available since the 1960s, and which promotional materials describe as the "most popular .22 in the world" with millions sold. Modern versions of the Model 60 can hold 14 rounds in a tubular fixed magazine.
The public has until May 8th to comment on the draft ballot title, at which point it becomes official. The campaign would then have until July 6 to collect the 88,000 needed signatures to qualify for the November ballot.
If passed, the initiative would give gunowners 120 days to rid themselves of their assault weapons, after which they would be guilty of a Class B Felony and subject to up to 10 years in prison and $250,000 in fines.
Insanely Broad Definition of 'Assault Weapon' Moves From Illinois Village to Oregon Ballot Initiative
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