Interfaith leaders launch campaign to ban assault-style rifles

A passionate petition to ban assault-style rifles took place under the arches of a Portland church Thursday night....

Posted: Mar. 16, 2018 5:29 PM
Updated: Mar. 16, 2018 5:29 PM

A passionate petition to ban assault-style rifles took place under the arches of a Portland church Thursday night.

The new political campaign was announced by Augustana Lutheran Church by a group of religious leaders. The group said they want to ban assault-style rifles and high-capacity magazines in the state of Oregon.

Reverend Mark Knutson said their goal is to get enough signatures to put a ban on assault-style rifles on the statewide ballot for November 2018. Knutson said his campaign needs 88,000 signatures by July 6.

"These amazing young people have told us, enough is enough!" said Rabbi Michael Cahana of Congregation Beth Israel.

Rabbi's, pastors and reverends, plus a handful of students spoke at the event.

"Choose life. We are choosing life," said Cahana.

"We were inspired by their passion, they're calling for adults to act," said Knutson.

Petitioners of the campaign said the core of their cause is the voice of the younger generation.

"We don't want to do this anymore, we don't want to be afraid anymore," said one college student.

"This is why there's so much animosity towards the AR-15," said gun owner, Dustin Singleton.

Singleton said his AR-15 has become the image of fear, but he said, it isn't the true problem.

"My chief purpose in owning this weapon is for enjoying pleasure in competition shooting and tow, for self-defense of my home and my family. The AR platform by fact, is the most highly sought after platform of a sporting rifle," said Singleton.

Singleton said he's taught concealed handgun training for 15 years and counting.

"We're not the ones carrying out these crimes, we're the ones who will take our weapons and stand up in defense," said Singleton.

Singleton said he understands the emotional message ringing out from the Portland sanctuary, but he said their focus should be on mental health, not weapons.

"We can add as many laws to the books as we like, but it's not going to stop bad people from doing bad things," said Singleton.

"We realize banning the weapons will require a sacrifice from those who use the weapons. We ask you to make this sacrifice for the sake of the greater good," said one speaker at the campaign launch.

"Our sacrifice isn't going to stop the criminal acts of a criminal," said Singleton.

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