Oregon Hunters and Wildlife Managers Face Devastating Ballot Initiative on Nov. 8

Oregon Hunters and Wildlife Managers Face Devastating Ballot Initiative on Nov. 8

Sportsmen and wildlife managers breathed a big sigh of relief earlier this year when animal-rights groups discontinued their attempt to get Oregon Initiative Petition 13 (IP 13) on this November’s ballot. Among other things, if approved by a vote of the people, the measure would have banned and criminalized all hunting, fishing, trapping and regulated animal husbandry and farming practices under the state’s animal cruelty laws.

Now, however, Oregon sportsmen and other gun owners are facing another dire threat, this time from Ballot Measure 114 (formerly IP 17), set to go before voters next month under the guise of the Reduction of Gun Violence Act. While many consider it a simple gun control measure—and a bad one at that—hunting and wildlife conservation groups are against it as it would drastically affect all Oregon sportsmen, sportswomen and wildlife.

According to NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA), if approved by voters on Nov. 8, the ballot measure would ban magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition and most modern shotguns, create a government registry of law-abiding gun owners’ personal information and require a permit to purchase or transfer a firearm. The permit, incidentally, would require classroom and live-fire training from law enforcement agencies, but agencies are not required by the law to offer such training. Additionally, neither the state’s Concealed Handgun License nor Hunter Safety Certification would work as a substitute for a purchase permit.

It’s not hard to see how such a law would hurt hunters. First, creating a large bureaucracy and putting it in charge of training and licensing in order for Oregon residents to buy or sell a gun is going to create mounds of red tape that lawful hunters and gun owners would have to navigate, and such a system currently doesn’t even exist. Also, the onerous magazine restriction would be devastating to Oregonians who carry a firearm for self-defense. In fact, under the proposed law even currently owned magazines that hold more than 10 rounds must be removed from a firearm and stored separately when citizens leave their homes.

Just as importantly, much of the funding for fish and wildlife conservation in Oregon and other states is tied to a federal excise tax on firearms, ammunition and sporting equipment that is allocated to state wildlife conservation agencies. Greatly reduced gun sales, which would undoubtedly occur because of the measure’s excessive red tape, could greatly hurt conservation funding.

As reported by state and national media outlets and hunter-backed groups, “Measure 114 is an ineffective attempt at reform that will hurt responsible gun owners without addressing mental health services, gang violence, public safety or any of the other areas that are proven to have close ties to gun violence,” said Amy Patrick, policy director for Oregon Hunters Association, which works to safeguard Oregon’s wildlife, habitat and hunting heritage. “Rather than investing in solutions that will protect people, this poorly written measure creates a larger bureaucracy that imposes illogical standards on Oregonians who want to legally hunt and recreate.”

According to Aiobheann Cline, NRA-ILA Oregon State Director, Ballot Measure 114 also would deliver a devastating blow to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (ODFW) “R3” efforts to recruit, retain and reactivate hunters and increase its engagement with under-represented populations.

“ODFW has focused on expanding its outreach to outdoor recreationists through its R3 efforts by increasing the diversity of its customers to reflect the gender, age and ethnic diversity of the state’s population,” said Cline. “The permit-to-purchase system requires a firearm owner to complete the necessary training course, therefore new hunters will find it difficult, if not impossible, to complete this required course if they do not already own a firearm. ODFW’s R3 efforts promote growth and diversity in the sportsmen’s community, but Ballot Measure 114 would decrease engagement, diversity and conservation funding from the sportsmen’s community statewide.”

Cline also called out how Ballot Measure 114’s permit-to-purchase firearms would apply to the private transfer of firearms. “The measure provides very specific and narrow exceptions for the permit-to-transfer,” she explained. “Sportsmen and women may find it impractical to pass down their sporting traditions to future generations if they do not find themselves in one of the non-inclusive categories, including a mentor in the sportsmen’s community.

For those wanting additional information on Oregon Ballot Measure 114, the NRA has launched a special website to inform Oregonians about the ins and outs of this measure. Give it a look to learn more about the dangers such a law could hold.

To read the full text of the measure, click here.

About the Author
Freelance writer Mark Chesnut is the owner/editorial director at Red Setter Communications LLC in Jenks, Okla. An avid hunter, shooter and field-trialer, he has been covering Second Amendment issues and politics on a near-daily basis for over 20 years, previously serving as editor of the NRA’s America’s First Freedom.