Response to the most recent shooting in New Zealand
We grieve with our Muslim brothers and sisters the tragic loss of life in the horrific mass shootings at the Al Noor and the Linwood Mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. We commend Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern for vowing to address, immediately, weaknesses in New Zealand’s gun laws, in particular military-style semi-automatic firearms and large-capacity magazines.
We urge the Oregon Legislature to follow that courageous path to make Oregon safer. The New Zealand shooter used two semi-automatic military-style weapons to which he attached large-capacity magazines. Military-grade weapons have no place in civilian life and are unnecessary for self-defense. Combined with Large-capacity ammunition magazines (LCMs) – 30, 50 and even 100 round magazines — these weapons have been the tools of choice in over 50% of the mass shootings in the past three decades, including:
• Umpqua, OR (Umpqua Community College): AR-15 variation used; 9 died; 7 injured
• Orlando, FL (Pulse Nightclub): AR-15s used; 49 people died; 53 injured
• Las Vegas, NV: AR-15s used; 58 died, over 400 injured
• Parkland, FL: AR-15 used; 17 students and staff died, many others injured
Because shooters using LMCs can fire at large numbers of people without taking the time to reload, those in the line of fire do not have a chance to escape, law enforcement and even bystanders do not have the chance to intervene, and the number of lives shattered by senseless acts of gun violence increases dramatically. Incidents where assault weapons or large-capacity ammunition magazines were used resulted in 135% more people shot and 57% more killed, compared to other mass shootings.
At least 7 states and the District of Columbia have imposed bans and/or strict regulation of such military-style, semi-automatic weapons, and those restrictions have been upheld as permissible under the United States Constitution by reviewing courts. Our proposed legislation will require current owners who want to keep these weapons to pass a background check and then register each weapon. Future sale and manufacture of assault weapons would be banned altogether. This is a modest and rational approach to making Oregon a safer place for our children and our communities.
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.
A statement of support for IP 43 from The Right Rev Michael Hanley, The Episcopal Bishop of Oregon:
"As a member of Bishops United Against Gun Violence, I am committed to taking steps – both personally and pastorally in my ministry as Bishop of the Diocese of Oregon – that seek to promote public safety and diminish gun violence. Those actions include participating in public liturgy such as March For Our Lives and supporting common sense gun safety measures. For this reason, I support Initiative Petition 43 and Lift Every Voice Oregon in their efforts to reduce the future sales and transfers of assault weapons and high capacity magazines in our state. I am thankful for the people of all faiths training to gather signatures to get IP43 on the November ballot and encourage all who are willing and able to lend their support to this measure."
Statement from the U.S. Conference of (Roman) Catholic Bishops :
We call on Catholics and all people of good will to urge their Senators and Representative to support policy and legislative measures that:
promote mercy and peacebuilding in our communities by implementing reasonable regulations on firearms such as:
Require universal background checks for all gun purchases;
Limit civilian access to high-capacity weapons and ammunition magazines;
Make gun trafficking a federal crime, and;
Improve access to mental health care for those who may be prone to violence,
promote restorative justice by passing legislation to support important reentry programs that help people avoid re-offending,
improve access to health care and treatment for those with addiction and mental health needs.
Oregon Evangelical Lutherans Speak Out on Gun Violence
Over the weekend the Oregon Synod of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, gathered for their Annual Assembly, overwhelming passed a Resolution calling on churches to “take action as they deem right” to “work to ban the sale of assault weapons, large capacity magazines (holding more than 10 rounds) and bump stocks in Oregon.”
“We know Measure 43 will be before our state this Fall.” reflected Oregon Synod Bishop Dave Brauer-Rieke. “However, Measure 43 is not specifically referenced in this Resolution. Individuals throughout the state will differ on how best to keep our communities safe, and we respect the conversation.”
“We have intentionally taken up the call of our nation’s youth who cry out ‘Enough is enough!’” said Brauer-Rieke. “Now is absolutely the right time to address gun violence. Our schools are not safe. Our communities are at risk. Young people suffer from our inaction.”
Central Conference of American Rabbis: Resolution on Assault Weapons and High Capacity Magazine Ban
BE IT RESOLVED that the Central Conference of American Rabbis:
Calls on State and Federal Legislatures to renew and make permanent a ban on assault rifles and to include a ban on high capacity magazines and bump stocks (all of which to be defined by law); and
Calls on our members to lead congregations and communities in advocacy to bring about these bans; and
Publically supports the teens, including NFTY, who are leading the call for school safety through the ban of assault rifles and high capacity magazines.
Full text here.