Oregon Ballot Initiatives May Be COVID-19 Casualties

So far, there’s been very little upside to the COVID-19 pandemic. I mean, it’s a potentially deadly disease that’s popping up all over the nation and has reached alarming levels in a number of places such as New York City, New Orleans, and my hometown of Albany, Georgia. Being stuck inside for weeks now has been pretty damn frustrating.

In fact, the only real good news are indications the disease might not be as bad as people feared. When your good news is “hey, maybe not quite as many people might die,” it’s time to recalibrate your expectations out of life.

However, on the gun rights side of things, it seems there’s an upside to COVID-19.

This is the season when Oregon initiative campaigns normally crank up their canvassing drives to gain enough signatures to qualify for the November ballot.

But it’s hard to gather signatures when most people are staying at home and don’t want to get close to canvassers carrying a clipboard.

As a result, the coronavirus crisis is knocking out ballot measure campaigns with grim efficiency — to the point that Oregon this year may have the fewest number of citizen initiatives in more than four decades

Initiatives dealing with gun control, clean energy and highway tolls appear increasingly unlikely to make the ballot.

One measure calling for tougher firearms storage requirements just recently received a final ballot title, clearing the way for signature-gathering. But Jake Weigler, a spokesman for State of Safety Action, said the group has decided to pull the plug.

“With the delays in getting the ballot title finalized and the challenge of gathering signatures in the current pandemic environment,” Weigler said, “we’ve just decided it’s not a viable strategy of trying to go forward to put this on the 2020 ballot.”

Mark Knutson, a Lutheran minister who is a leader of Lift Every Voice Oregon, acknowledged that his group may also have to abandon its quest to qualify a measure putting new restrictions on semiautomatic firearms.

His group is still waiting for the Oregon Supreme Court to decide on the final language of ballot titles for three possible measures aimed at prohibiting large-capacity magazines and more tightly regulating sales of military-style semiautomatic rifles.

Now, I’d much rather these measures get outright defeated and beaten so badly that no one ever tries to pass this kind of stupidity ever again. I also don’t like the idea of people dying as a means of scoring a political win.

That said, I’m also not the kind of guy to look a gift horse in the mouth.

Based on what we’re seeing with anti-gun governors being shot down on their efforts to close gun stores during this crisis, I have a feeling that even if they could gather signatures, these measures would face an uphill battle. That’s putting it mildly.

As people begin to understand just how precarious our civilization actually is and how easily everything we trust about our society can be taken away, they’re starting to also understand that one needs to be as self-reliant as possible. They’re not likely to embrace still more gun control, especially on proposals that would directly impact their ability to defend their families.

Expect to see these measures again next year.

Then, crush these measures next year.

Jan 19, 2022 12:30 PM ET