SALEM — A trio of conservative Republican politicians are trying to overturn a new law that expands the ability to take weapons away from someone considered suicidal.

The landmark legislation, known as the Extreme Risk Protection Act, was authored by state Sen. Brian Boquist, R-Dallas, whose stepson, a military veteran, killed himself with a gun.

Referendum 302 was filed Tuesday and appeared on the Secretary of State’s website Tuesday evening. Given the preliminary title of the referendum, “Say No to Senate Bill 719,” it would put the law up for a vote, most likely in November 2018.

Gun rights groups attempted to defeat the bill and are now mobilizing the referendum effort.

The posting lists the chief petitioners as Republican House members Mike Nearman of Independence and Bill Post of Keizer, along with Teri Grier, a conservative Republican activist from North Bend, near Coos Bay. Grier narrowly lost a bid for a state House seat in November. Nearman was also listed as treasurer for Repeal 719, a campaign committee for the referendum that filed with the Secretary of State on Wednesday.

Senate Bill 719 narrowly passed the Senate and House and was signed into law by Gov. Kate Brown on Aug. 16. If the referendum qualifies for the ballot, the law would not go into effect until a vote.

The law “creates the process for obtaining extreme risk protection order prohibiting person from possessing deadly weapon when court finds that person presents risk in near future, including imminent risk, of suicide or causing injury to another person,” the summary of the bill read in part. Proponents said it was a narrowly worded bill to give families a way to get weapons out of the possession of people believed to be actively considering suicide.

The bill passed the Senate on May 1 by a vote of 17-11 with Boquist the only Republican voting yes. Two other Republicans, Sen. Jackie Winters of Salem and Sen. Herman Baertschiger of Grants Pass, did not cast a vote. Sen. Betsy Johnson, D-Scappoose, was the only Democrat voting no.

The bill passed the House on July 6 by a vote of 31-28. No Republicans voted yes, while two Democrats — Rep. Jeff Barker, D-Aloha; and Rep. Bill Clem, D-Salem; voted no. Rep. Deborah Boone, D-Cannon Beach, did not cast a vote. Nearman and Post, the referendum sponsors, voted no.

— Reporter: 541-525-5280, gwarner@bendbulletin.com

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