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Local gun lobby fails miserably.

By Penny Okamoto, Executive Director of Ceasefire Oregon

May 8 was the last day to submit comments about the ballot title for IP 43, the initiative petition to regulate the sale and possession of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

Lift Every Voice, the campaign for IP 43, submitted a reasoned and professional comment to the Attorney General.

The Oregon Firearms Federation, a local gun lobby, encouraged its supporters to submit comments about the ballot title. That turned about to be another case of OFF shooting itself in the foot.

OFF claims to have more than 22,000 Facebook followers and tens of thousand of email addresses for supporters. In addition, OFF has connections with other extreme gun groups throughout Oregon. Despite claiming all those supporters, OFF and its cohorts could only interest a tiny fraction of their supporters to take a few minutes to copy and paste text already written by OFF and a click a link to email it to the Oregon Attorney General.

Considering the low effort required to submit a comment, OFF should have generated 20,000 or more comments. A very generous accounting shows that only a two percent of their supporters took action. The Attorney General’s office recorded 1060 comments in total. Even if OFF generated 1050 comments, that’s a teeny, tiny 2% of their outreach. OFF is completely out of touch with the average gun owner.

Part of the reason could be that OFF purposefully misleads and confuses their supporters about bills, including IP 43. For example, OFF hysterically claims that every gun bill is a confiscation bill. That same cry over the past 18 years has, frankly, become ridiculous and embarrassing for OFF. OFF also claims that IP 43 (and other bills) are unconstitutional. Assault weapon bans are already law in 7 other states and D.C. and those laws have already withstood NRA challenges. Assault weapons ban are completely constitutional. Finally, OFF does its supporters no favors by providing them with misinformation about how the constitution works (no, sheriffs are not Supreme Court Justices) and how to present factual information so that they will be taken seriously.

According to a February 2018 national poll, sixty-seven percent of Americans support a national ban on assault rifles sales. Clearly, the vast majority of gun owners know that assault weapons and high-capacity magazines only serve two purposes: to kill as many people as quickly as possible and to make as much money as possible for the gun industry – and the gun lobby.

The comment numbers show that OFF doesn’t speak for the vast majority of Oregon gun owners and they certainly do not speak for Oregonians who want to end the carnage left by assault weapons.