July 18, 2022

Signatures Submitted for Initiative to Restrict Firearm Ownership in Oregon

Contact: Keely Hopkins, Manager, Pacific States & Firearm Policy

Why It Matters: Oregon’s law-abiding hunters and shooters have long played a vital role in funding conservation and wildlife management efforts throughout the state. Under the American System of Conservation Funding (ASCF), a unique “user pays —public benefits” structure, Oregon’s sportsmen and women generate tens of millions of dollars each year for the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife. These funds are generated through license sales and a 10-11% federal excise tax on sporting-related goods, including firearm purchases. If passed, Initiative Petitions 17 would impact conservation funding in the state by decreasing the tax revenue available for wildlife management and conservation.

Proponents of Initiative Petition 17 claim to have submitted sufficient signatures to the Oregon Secretary of State by the July 8 deadline to qualify the initiative for the 2022 November ballot. Secretary Fagan will now verify that at least 112,020 valid signatures have been turned in before certifying the initiative. If passed, Initiative Petition 17 would require a permit to purchase a firearm and ban standard capacity magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds, amongst other restrictions.

A standard capacity magazine generally means any detachable ammunition feeding device that is sold and designed to operate in firearms from the manufacturer. Many popular semiautomatic rifles and handguns are sold with magazines that have capacities of 15-30 rounds and are commonly found in the hands of hunters and recreational shooters. Restrictions imposed on standard capacity magazines by Initiative Petition 17 would create unnecessary burdens on responsible firearm owners and would come at a high cost to firearm manufacturers and consumers, with little to no evidence indicating a reduction in crime. Additionally, restrictions of access to firearms with standard capacity magazines or through the imposition of a lengthy permitting process would also reduce conservation funding in the state through decreased firearm sales.

Each year, Oregon’s hunters and recreational shooters contribute tens of millions of dollars to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, providing vital revenue to help carry out their mission of managing the state’s diverse fish and wildlife, and the habitats upon which they depend. Under the Pittman-Robertson Act, Oregon’s hunters and recreational shooters pay a 10-11% excise tax on all firearm purchases, which in turn helps fund a large portion of the state’s wildlife management, conservation, and research efforts. Initiative Petition 17 if passed, would restrict the sale of firearms with standard capacity magazines, thereby decreasing the tax revenue available for conservation funding from which all Oregon residents enjoy.

CSF is on the ground in Oregon and will be actively working with our partners in opposition to this initiative should it qualify for the November ballot.

Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?

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