Deschutes County Sheriff Shane Nelson spoke out against a proposed gun control measure that could be on the November ballot in Oregon this year.
The organizers behind Initiative Petition 43 met the original deadline of 1,000 signatures by last month, but they will need more than 88,000 valid signatures by July 6th to put the measure on the November ballot.
I.P. 43 is a measure that proposes restrictions on the sale, production and ownership of assault weapons and high capacity magazines. If the measure makes it on the ballot and is passed by voters in November, Oregon residents who currently own an assault weapon would be required to either register the gun with the state, sell it to a registered gun dealer, remove the gun from the state, render the gun inoperable or hand it over to law enforcement.
Under I.P. 43 an assault weapon would be any semi-automatic rifles or pistol with a detachable magazine, semi-automatic shotguns with grip and stock modifications and semi-automatic rifles under 30 inches in length. High capacity magazines are defined as any feeding device that holds more than ten rounds.
The petition was started after the mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida and has gained support from local activists and organizers of the ‘March for Our Lives.’
The petition has sparked push back from gun advocates across the state and on Friday, Deschutes County Sheriff Shane Nelson posted this statement to his Facebook page:
“As your Sheriff, I took an oath to support the Constitution of the United States of America and the State of Oregon. In addition to this, I swore to perform the duties of Deschutes County Sheriff to the best of my ability. I support and defend the Second Amendment and oppose IP 43.
I serve the 190,000 citizens of our great county and am charged with public safety. Our office has issued over 14,000 concealed handgun licenses and I firmly believe that every responsible and accountable law abiding citizen who wants to legally own a firearm should do so. Firearms have their lawful place in society and are an important tool in personal protection and ensuring public safety in our county.
I understand the concerns of school violence across the country and the role law enforcement plays. Oregon has a number of laws on the books regarding background checks and age restrictions related to the purchase of a firearm. These laws prohibit the sale of firearms to convicted felons, those convicted of misdemeanor crimes involving violence, those adjudicated as mentally ill, those who have been committed as the result of a Mental Commitment Hearing, those with an active felony warrant, active out of state misdemeanor warrant and those on pretrial release for a felony.
Our office continues to take all threats seriously, and we appropriately vet them in partnership with our DA’s Office, mental health professionals, other law enforcement agencies, our schools, and others in the public safety sector. We immediately respond to, investigate threats of violence or danger, and hold people accountable. We are committed to keeping our children and community safe. Deputies of the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office will always respond to assist and protect the citizens we serve, but you must be prepared to appropriately take care of you and your family until we can get there.”