PORTLAND — Oregonians will not be voting this fall on a proposal to require safe gun storage.
Supporters of the initiative petition said Wednesday there isn’t enough time to obtain the more than 88,000 valid signatures necessary to get the item on the November ballot.
They had until July 6 but only got the go-ahead to start collecting names on Monday.
The petition had been on hold after opponents with the National Rifle Association, Oregon Firearms Federation and other groups challenged its ballot language to the Oregon Supreme Court.
“We appreciate the Supreme Court acting quickly to dismiss the gun lobby’s challenge,” chief petitioner Henry Wessinger said in a statement. “However, we are disappointed the gun lobby’s efforts prevented signature gathering for a critical period of more than six weeks.”.
The proposal would require gun owners to secure their weapons with trigger locks or other mechanisms when they aren’t in use or being carried. Violators would face fines of up to $2,000 and be liable for injuries caused by an unlawfully unlocked weapon.
Among the petitioners are Jenna Yuille and Paul Kemp, relatives of two people killed by a gunman at a suburban Portland mall in 2012. The shooter had stolen an unsecured AR-15 rifle from a friend.
Supporters said they will try to get the Oregon Legislature to pass the measure in 2019. If that fails, they will target the 2020 election.
A separate campaign to restrict the sale of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines in the state continues despite an even tighter timeframe for collecting signatures.
Pro-gun groups appealed ballot language for that petition to the Oregon Supreme Court, and the high court has yet to rule.
Rev. Mark Knutson, one of the chief petitioners, said volunteers will be ready to roll as soon as the court rules. He calculates that 2,000 volunteers collecting 50 signatures a day — “which is not that hard to do” — adds up to 100,000 in just one day.
“We have highly motivated junior high and high school students who can’t wait for the opportunity to take their petitions and get signatures,” he said.
Follow Steven DuBois at twitter.com/pdxdub