November 7, 2022
Iowa, Oregon Second Amendment Rights Ballot Initiatives Get Vote
Voting in the 2022 midterm elections is well underway. NSSF urges all voters to make it to their polling location and #GUNVOTE® so they don’t risk their rights.
The Second Amendment implications are far-reaching in the U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Senate, governors’ mansions and state legislative bodies. Voters in Iowa and Oregon will cast votes on important ballot initiatives and decide whether their states will further enshrine the right to keep and bear arms, or instead further restrict those rights.
Iowa’s ‘Freedom Amendment’
Currently there are 44 states that include specific guarantees for residents to keep and bear arms within their respective state constitutions. Six states do not: California, Minnesota, Maryland, New Jersey, New York and Iowa. That could change Tuesday night if Hawkeye State voters approve Public Measure #1.
Public Measure #1, or the “Freedom Amendment” as it’s called, would amend the state constitution and add language guaranteeing law-abiding Iowans’ ability to exercise their right to possess and lawfully use firearms. If Ballot Measure 1 is approved, the Iowa Constitution would add, “The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. The sovereign state of Iowa affirms and recognizes this right to be a fundamental individual right. Any and all restrictions of this right shall be subject to strict scrutiny.”
Several Iowa county sheriffs endorsed the ballot measure.
“The right to keep and bear arms is a fundamental and God-given right and it’s passed time that Iowans have the same state-level civil rights protections as Americans living in the rest of the country,” said Cedar County Sheriff Warren Wethington.
More importantly, voters seem all but assured to approve the protection. According to the Des Moines Register, nearly 60 percent of Iowans who are voting say they’ll vote for the amendment, with 37 percent voicing their opposition.
Approving Public Measure #1 would make it harder in the future for gun control advocates to push through measures making it more difficult for law-abiding Iowans to protect themselves, their families, their homes and their businesses.
Half the country away in Oregon, voters will cast their ballots not on whether to approve a stronger guarantee of lawful gun rights, but if they’ll accept restrictions that would “virtually eliminate” Second Amendment rights in the Beaver State, where crime and safety are weighing particularly heavily on voters’ minds.
Oregon Ballot Measure 114 “represents one of the most sweeping gun-control laws ever submitted directly to voters anywhere in the country,” reported The Reload.
It proposes to expand background check requirements on all firearm transfers, including private transfers, instituting a statewide universal background check. The measure would also require gun owners to pay extra fees to exercise their rights, enroll in hands-on firearm training and create a system of finger printing and data collection. Oregon Measure 14 would also require Oregonians to obtain a permit-to-purchase a gun, a costly and timely process even before they can pass an FBI National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) verification. Lastly, the measure would limit ammunition magazine capacity to only holding 10 rounds.
Opponents of the bill suggest the ballot measure would make gun ownership even more restrictive in a state already with some of the nation’s strictest gun control laws. Oregon State Shooting Association President Kerry Spurgin told media, “This is the most extreme gun control measure in the country, or at least one of the most extreme.”
Spurgin’s not alone. Law enforcement has come out against the measure too.
“We recognize that we must address firearm violence, but Measure 114 is just not the answer,” said Shane Nelson, President of the Oregon State Sheriffs’ Association (OSSA). “It will move very scarce law-enforcement resources from protecting our communities to doing backgrounds and issuing permits.”
Polling on Oregon voters’ appetite for Ballot Measure 114 suggests it will be close, with 46 percent supporting the severe restrictions and 49 percent opposing. Less than five percent were undecided.
In a sign of how much safety, crime and gun rights are weighing on Oregon voters’ minds, Republican gubernatorial candidate and Oregon House of Representatives Minority Leader Christine Drazan is polling neck-and-neck against the Democratic challenger and she’s run a campaign that has emphasized Second Amendment rights. She may become Oregon’s first pro-Second Amendment Republican governor in more than forty years. If #GUNVOTE momentum carries Rep. Drazan to the Governor’s Mansion, it may also send Ballot Measure 114 to the graveyard.
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