PORTLAND, Ore. — A grassroots campaign led by the organization "Lift Every Voice Oregon" has gathered enough signatures to get stricter gun safety measures on the November ballot, according to the group.
At Northeast Portland's Augustana Lutheran Church Friday, a gathering of students and faith leaders lifted their voices with a message urging the community to turn anger into action.
"All our faith traditions say love is at the core, so we have to take action when our neighbors are bleeding and children are being shot in their schools," said Pastor Mark Knutson with Augustana Lutheran Church.
Knutson and others with Lift Every Voice worked to get Initiative Petition 17 on the November ballot. The initiative calls for permits and thorough background checks for all gun purchases, while banning large capacity magazines.
The group needed to secure 112,000 signatures to qualify for the November 2022 ballot. On Friday, Pastor Knutson announced they'd surpassed that goal, gathering over 160,000 signatures.
"We can take action in this country, in this democracy," Knutson said. "We don't have to wait, we can do it ourselves as citizens."
The group boarded a school bus from Portland to Salem with boxes of petitions hand-filled with signatures, all to be delivered to the Secretary of State's office. They rallied across from the Capitol and marched arm in arm for the delivery.
"I know all these people and consider them friends, and together I’m really proud of what we've accomplished — and today is time to celebrate," said Ben, a student at the rally.
"Don't underestimate the basement of a church, synagogue because that's where movements begin," said Knutson. "That's where people step out in faith and things happen."
As is the usual process for any initiative petition, state election workers will check the signatures to make sure there are enough deemed valid. The deadline to complete the work is August 7, but it may be done sooner.