In the coming days, Oregon voters will be asked if they support much tighter gun control measures. If passed, a ballot measure would require people who want to buy a gun to pay a fee, take a safety course, submit fingerprints and pass a background check to obtain a permit, reports NPR. High-capacity magazines — those that hold 10 or more rounds — would be banned. Such restrictions would group Oregon among other states with restrictive gun laws. The ballot measure process doesn't involve the compromises that usually accompany the legislative process. "What's been interesting is how proficient advocates have become using these measures," says Josh Horwitz of the Center for Gun Violence Solutions at Johns Hopkins University. "I do think there are other states that could benefit from this strategy."
The initiative is opposed by the Oregon State Sheriffs' Association as well as gun-owner groups, which argue that it would create more administrative work for those who seek to legally own guns without curtailing their illegal use. Some opponents argue that an alternative solution to addressing gun violence is to bolster law enforcement, "whether that's having more prosecutors, whether that's investing in more officers on the street," says Amy Patrick of the Oregon Hunters Association. National experts on gun violence disagree. "The evidence is very clear. The policies in these initiatives will save lives," says Horwitz. He alludes to studies in several other states documenting a correlation between gun permits and lowered homicide rates. In Connecticut, the homicide rate dropped 28 percent over 22 years after the state passed a permitting law.