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Faith Leaders Try Again

New gun control ballot title approved

A Portland Observer archive photo from 2018 shows faith leaders gathered at Augustana Lutheran Church in northeast Portland to promote the regulation of semiautomatic weapons and large capacity ammunition magazines. A new gun safety effort by the group is picking up steam. Pictured (from left) are Liz McKanna, Rabbi Michael Z. Cahana, Rev. Alcena Boozer, Rev. W. J. Mark Knutson, Tamrah Knutson and Iman Muhammad A. Najieb.

United in calling for non-violence for resolving differences, not resorting to weapons, Lift Every Voice Oregon, a statewide group of interfaith leaders born out of northeast Portland, have announced the approval of two new ballot titles for proposed laws to help end the epidemic of gun violence.

Rev. Dr. W. J. Mark Knutson of Augustana Lutheran Church, announced last week that the group received notice from the Oregon Supreme Court that it approved the ballot titles for both of its initiatives to reduce gun violence and promote safety throughout Oregon, measures 17 and 18. It marks the second attempt by the group to bring the issue to voters.

The new initiatives promote common sense safety measures such as requiring a permit to purchase firearms, issued after completing a basic gun safety training and passing a background check


Semiautomatic assault weapons would also be banned in future sales under terms of the proposals. The firearms currently owned could be retained provided they are registered, in order to allow tracking of the owner when used in crimes.

Approval of the measures by voters would eliminate loopholes allowing purchase of a gun after three days, even if the background check isn't completed. The initiatives also limit ammunition magazine capacity to 10 rounds, targeting the 20, 50 or 100 round clips which are commonly used in mass shootings and in many other circumstances involving guns.

The faith leaders say these proposals have been shown to make a difference by reducing the proliferation of weapons and reducing the deaths and injuries from such weapons.

The Oregon Supreme Court's approval of the ballot titles opens the door for organizers to begin collecting signatures to qualify for placement on the 2022 ballot. They will need 112,020 valid signatures of registered voters by July 8, relying on thousands of volunteers throughout the state to circulate the signature pages, as well as a link on their webpage ( which allows voters to print, sign and mail in the form.

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