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Group of faith leaders, others work to get stricter gun measures on November ballot

Lift Every Voice Oregon wants to ban large capacity magazines over 10 rounds in Oregon, while requiring permits and thorough background checks to buy firearms.

PORTLAND, Ore. — At Northeast Portland's Augustana Lutheran Church Thursday, a group primarily made up of faith leaders turned anger into a call for action.

"We can make a difference," Rabbi Michael Cahana of Congregation Beth Israel said. "We will make a difference. We're going to change the narrative right now."

The narrative Rabbi Cahana is focused on changing is the gun violence narrative. He and others with Lift Every Voice Oregon are calling for stricter gun laws in Oregon.

"We have to have sensible gun action for public health right now," Rev. Mark Knutson of Augustana Lutheran Church said. "We cannot wait any longer."

Lift Every Voice Oregon is working to get Initiative Petition 17 on the November ballot. IP 17 calls for permits and thorough background checks for all gun purchases. It would also ban large capacity magazines.

Credit: Mike Benner, KGW staff
A look at IP 17.

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"Nobody needs 30-round magazines," Liz McKanna said. "Our bill limits magazines to 10. That's sufficient. It's proven to reduce deaths and injuries."

Just maybe a law like that would have saved lives in Uvalde, Texas, supporters reason. Although the small town is more than 2,000 miles away from Portland, what happened there hits home for each member of Lift Every Voice Oregon. Speaking alongside the faith leaders on Thursday was Oregon State Treasurer Tobias Read, a father of two.

"I have to hold my breath a little bit when I watch them leave for school and my heart breaks every time my wife and I have to describe the latest school shooting," Read said.

Enough is enough, the speakers expressed. Those who spent Thursday morning at Augustana Lutheran Church said that the time to act is now.

"We are fed up," Rabbi Cahana said. "Thoughts and prayers aren't enough. Action is what is needed right now."

Lift Every Voice Oregon has collected approximately 30,000 signatures so far. They need about 112,000 signatures by early July to get the stricter gun measures on the November ballot.

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!P 17 is one of two petitions that the group started organizing for last year. The group formed in the wake of the Parkland, Florida school shooting and has made several attempts to pass gun control measures since then. Those previous efforts faltered amid legal challenges.

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