Gun Ban Group Wants To "Defeat Injustice" While Actually Adding To It

Gun Ban Group Wants To "Defeat Injustice" While Actually Adding To It
AP Photo/Lisa Marie Pane

It’s not just the legislature in Oregon that’s pushing gun control. A gun control group comprised of religious figures is trying to get a pair of sweeping gun control laws on the ballot in 2022 that would impose several new restrictions on the right to keep and bear arms.

One of the initiative petitions is to ban the sale of assault-style weapons. The other would ban large capacity magazines, along with a background check and require a permit to buy a gun.

The group says they are committed in choosing life and safety for the community.

Sounds to me like they’re actually committed to putting more people in prison for non-violent, possessory firearm offenses by creating brand new crimes out of the right to keep and bear arms.

“I don’t want to live in a world where this could happen at any moment. You could be walking down the street and run into as stray bullet,” said Merilyn Keller, a chief petitioner.

You could be, but it’s not likely. You could also be killed by someone jumping off a parking garage and landing on you, as we recently saw in San Diego. You could even be be killed after being struck by a car, five years after your husband was struck and killed just blocks away from where you were hit.

Unfortunately, we do live in a world where random acts of violence, both intentional and unintentional, take place. That won’t change even if a gun and magazine ban are put on the books, or a permit is required before anyone can legally buy a gun.

In fact, when it comes to preventing violent crime, the idea of banning and arresting our way to safety is just as silly as banning cars to prevent pedestrians from being killed in crosswalks.

Ironically, one of the principles of the “Lift Every Voice Coalition” pushing the new gun control measures talks about defeating “injustice.”

Nonviolence seeks to defeat injustice not people.
Nonviolence recognizes that evildoers are also victims and are not evil people.
The nonviolent resister seeks to defeat evil not people.

Bad news for these folks; both of their proposals target people, and will actually create injustice instead of defeating it. Putting people in prison for possessing a 20-round magazine sounds like an injustice to me. Turning someone into a criminal because they own the most popular centerfire rifle in the U.S. sounds like an injustice to me. Requiring a permission slip from the government to exercise a constitutionally-protected right sounds like an injustice to me.

Evildoers aren’t going to be stopped by a gun control law, and attempts to criminalize the right to keep and bear arms creates victims; both in terms of those responsible gun owners who would be victimized by the gun control laws Lift Every Voice Oregon wants to impose and those who would be the victims of violent criminals who simply don’t care that they’re violating the new laws.

Lift Every Voice Oregon may want to defeat evil, but I’d remind them that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. It’s good that they want to address violent crime and try to make Oregon a safer place, but trying to do so my imposing criminal penalties on the exercise of a constitutional right is a truly terrible way to go about it.

While the anti-gun group has announced its intentions to put their referendums before the voters in 2022, they’ve yet to release the proposed text of their ballot initiatives to the public. However, the FAQ section of the group’s website provides some idea of what they’re specifically calling for.

While our new initiative is still in the planning phase, LEVO does not intend to propose that current owners be required to relinquish their firearms. As in the 2018 initiative, owners will be required to register the firearms that fall within the definition of semi-automatic, military-style weapons (and pass a current background check) in order to retain them. Similarly, owners will also be able to retain magazines owned at the time the initiative becomes effective, provided they are permanently altered so the magazine cannot accept more than 10 rounds. This is similar to the initiative (Proposition 63) passed in California in 2016. The firearms and magazines may also be sold out of state, permanently disabled, or given to law enforcement for disposal, and we are exploring the addition of a buy-back provision. Exceptions for government officials, military personnel, and police officers who use such weapons in the course of their duties will be added.

Of course police and “government officials” are exempt from their gun ban. It’s also telling that they never mention the criminal penalties that would apply to those who don’t register their guns with the government or who maintain their ammunition magazines without altering them or handing them over to police.

The good news for gun owners is that this outfit has repeatedly tried and failed to get these initiatives on the ballot in recent years, and they could easily fail again this time around. I hope the Second Amendment community in Oregon begins speaking out against LEVO’s proposals and explain to non-gun owners why these ideas may be well-intended, but would lead to far more injustice in the state.