At least two Deschutes County residents intended to file petitions by Friday’s deadline in circuit court in hopes of snuffing out a pro-Second Amendment measure before it can make the county ballot.
One of those was Bend City Councilor Barb Campbell, who on Thursday said she intended to pay the $265 fee to challenge the wording of Initiative Petition 9-2018-1, also known as the Second Amendment Protection Ordinance, the local version of a statewide effort.
The deadline to file a petition to review the ballot title is 5 p.m. Friday.
The other resident, Zandra Brant used a word processor to type her petition on one sheet of paper. She said the Deschutes County Circuit Court staffer who processed her petition consulted the court administrator, Jeff Hall, who determined Brant’s document contained all of the correct information.
“He didn’t want me to have to pay that fee for nothing,” Brant said. Though it’s unlikely Brant’s legal arguments will affect the measure, she said it was worth the $265 filing fee.
“It’s a small price to pay for the freedom from gun violence,” she said.
The Second Amendment initiative would do two things: expand the constitutional definition of “firearm” to include accessories, and empower the local sheriff to not enforce laws regulating guns. This election season, groups in most Oregon counties are forwarding some form of the measure.
“We’re just trying to do something to protect the Second Amendment,” said Verlin Belcher, of Redmond, who is a member of three different Deschutes County groups that are behind the measure. “Democrats, basically, would love to see our firearms banned. I don’t think it will ever happen, but there’s bad people out there and there’s good people. Bad people, they don’t follow the laws. They’re not going to, so there’s absolutely no protection for you.”
Belcher said his groups were motivated to act because of Initiative Petition 43, a potential ballot measure that would ban weapons classified as assault rifles and magazines with a capacity of more than 10 rounds.
The Deschutes County Clerk determined the Second Amendment initiative met the requirements of the Oregon Constitution to appear on the ballot, at which point it was sent to Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel to create a title and ballot language.
If Hummel’s ballot language is upheld, he doesn’t think the proposed law would survive constitutional challenges in the courts.
“I certainly won’t be voting for it,” he said.
Campbell called the Second Amendment proposal “clearly unconstitutional.” She says she knows because she’s looked into doing what she can accomplish on the City Council where gun control is concerned. She’s requested the subject be added to the agenda of Wednesday’s council study session. She’s asked representatives of police and legal departments to be present.
“The fact is, most of us are in the center when it comes to gun safety,” said Campbell, who cited as an example high public support for universal background checks.
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