Two Republican lawmakers and a former candidate for the Oregon House of Representatives are seeking to repeal a new state law that allows law enforcement to confiscate dangerous weapons from people deemed to pose a danger to themselves or others.
State Reps. Mike Nearman (R-Independence) and Bill Post (R-Keizer), and Teri Grier of North Bend have filed paperwork with the Secretary of State's Office to begin circulating a petition to repeal the law sponsored by state Sen. Brian Boquist of Dallas, a Republican.
Post represents District 25 in the House, which includes Newberg and St. Paul, while Boquist's Senate District 12 stretches from south of Corvallis to Hillsboro and includes Dundee and McMinnville.
Boquist said his son's suicide last year and attempts by other veterans to harm themselves spurred Senate Bill 719. The legislation, signed into law by Gov. Kate Brown Aug. 16, would take effect Jan. 1.
The petitioners must gather at least 58,789 valid signatures by Oct. 5 to land the referendum on the spring 2018 ballot.
The bill passed in the Senate largely along party lines, 17-to-11. Boquist joined 16 Democrats to send the legislation to the House, where it passed 31-to-28.
Boquist lost his 31-year-old son and Navy veteran to suicide in February 2016, in the midst of the Legislature's session. Boquist wrote a statement, read by Senate President Peter Courtney the day after the suicide, that his son, Seth Sprague, had "never fully recovered from the tragedy of war."
The senator also lost three soldiers under his Army command to suicide after they returned from the Iraq War more than a decade ago.