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Effort to repeal new Oregon gun law fails


SALEM, Ore. (AP) – An effort to repeal a new Oregon law that enables a court to deny a gun to a person deemed at risk of suicide or hurting others has failed, its organizers said, because they didn’t get enough signatures to place it on the ballot.

Rep. Mike Nearman, a Republican from the town of Independence who was the chief petitioner, blamed Democratic Gov. Kate Brown, saying her delay in signing the bill weeks after it was passed by the Legislature gave too little time to get enough signatures.

Petitioners had 90 days from the end of the Legislative session, which was July 7, to get enough signatures but couldn’t begin to gather them until the governor signed the bill, which was Aug. 15.

News release from petitioners:

SB 719 Petitioners Do Not Have Sufficient Signatures

Petitioners Have Developed an Effective Organization to be More Effective in the Future

The Chief Petitioners for Referendum 302 are announcing that they do not have enough signatures to place the Act of the Legislature enacting 2017 SB 719 on the ballot.

“It wasn’t for lack of support. We just simply did not have enough time. I blame Governor Kate Brown for that,” said Chief Petitioner Mike Nearman, who is also a State Representative from House District 23.

According to Article IV of the Oregon Constitution, petitioners have 90 days from the end of the Legislative Session in which the bill was passed, which was July 7, 2017. However, they cannot begin to gather signatures until the Governor signs the bill, which was not until August 15, 2017.

“The foot-dragging by Governor Brown cost us 39 of our 90 days. To make matters worse, she signed the bill on the Friday before the eclipse, so that cost us an extra three days. There was no reason to do this other than to keep us from gathering signatures and keep this issue from a vote of the people,” said State Representative Bill Post of House District 25, also a Chief Petitioner.

“Everywhere I went, people were clamoring to sign,” said co-Chief Petitioner Teri Grier of North Bend. Grier was a candidate for House District 9 in 2016. “At the rate we were gathering signatures, I think we could have made it to the ballot in 90 days. As time wore on, more people found out about the effort and the number of signatures received each day kept increasing,” said Grier.

“The response was overwhelming. The gun grabbers are on notice that we have an organization that can put a measure on the ballot, so that the people can vote on it,” said Nearman.

The group collected fewer than 25,000 signatures. They needed 58,142 signatures by October 5, 2017.

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