March 4, 2019

Press Release: Bills to Limit High-Capacity Magazines and Regulate Military-Style Firearms Introduced Into the Oregon Legislature

Portland - Two bills that will reduce the number and availability of military-style weapons and ammunition in Oregon have been introduced in the Oregon legislative session. HB 3265, a bill to limit high-capacity magazines to ten rounds, was introduced on February 28. HB 3223, a bill to regulate currently owned military-style firearms and end the future sale, transfer and manufacture of those weapons was introduced on February 28th.

The bills were filed by Lift Every Voice Oregon (LEVO), a coalition of faith-based communities, Christian, Jewish, Muslim and Buddhist, and other people of good will. LEVO’s members urge Oregon legislators to reduce the fear imposed upon children, as well as adults, of every age by the threat of mass shootings.

Rev. W. J. Mark Knutson, Senior Pastor of Augustana Lutheran Church,and Chair of Lift Every Voice Oregon, states the goal: “As people of faith we have always opposed violence and sought the well-being of our children and youth. After Parkland, this took on new urgency and we formed the Lift Every Voice Coalition to declare, now is the time to act for the well-being of every Oregonian. HB 3223 and HB 3265 will say to our young leaders, your voices have been heard. These bills will be a bellwether for the nation on what people of faith and people of goodwill of all ages can accomplish for the common good.”

The bill to limit high-capacity magazines, HB 3265, will prohibit the future sale, transfer, and manufacture in Oregon of any firearm magazine that holds more than ten rounds of ammunition. Under current Oregon law, large game hunters in Oregon are limited to just five rounds in a magazine when hunting large game such as elk.

HB 3223 which will regulate currently owned assault weapons, will prohibit the future sale, transfer, and manufacture of military-style assault weapons in Oregon. Gun owners who legally own firearms described in the bill may continue to keep the firearms but must register them with the Oregon State Police.

Rev. Lynne Smouse Lopez, pastor of the United Church of Christ in Portland, is a longtime advocate for gun violence prevention. When asked about the new, bold climate of gun safety bills in Salem, Rev. Lopez said, “Things can change. Death threats and hate-filled messages can discourage our political leaders from staying the course, but the impossible is possible! We gained enough solid support to get state leaders to act on these life-saving bills, and we will not stop until these bills are law.” Smouse Lopez added, “We want a safer Oregon!”

Rabbi Michael Cahana, of Temple Beth Israel, captured the essence of LEVO’s goals in bringing these two bills: “We are pleased to see that the Oregon State Legislature is taking on the issue of gun violence prevention. As religious leaders in our state, we take seriously the commandment to not stand idly by while our neighbor bleeds. We support measures to reduce gun violence by prohibiting the sale of new military-style weapons and large-capacity ammunition magazines. Together we will help keep our citizens and our children safe from mass shootings.”