Proponents of "common-sense gun reforms" repeatedly assure legal firearm owners that "nobody is coming for your guns." If they are sincere, those gun reform proponents should publicly disavow Oregon Initiative Petition 43 (formerly IP 42) - because it does come for the guns, with a very heavy hand.

Filed by an interfaith religious group in Portland, the initiative - if it were to make it to the ballot and pass - would ban "assault weapons" and "high-capacity magazines" (including those used in most modern handguns). It would also require gun owners to surrender their rifles and magazines or face felony charges. "If qualified," an owner could "register" their firearm or magazine. However, under the language of the initiative, it would be illegal to take either to the local shooting areas to use them.

In other words, the State will confiscate or render unusable your legally acquired property, and if you don't comply you would be subject to being adjudicated a felon. Thousands of law-abiding Oregonians - many of them your friends and neighbors - would be declared outlaws, criminals.

That should alarm any Oregonian, any American, regardless of how you feel about firearms.

This misbegotten initiative validates the most extreme rhetoric of the National Rifle Association, pushing firearms owners and gun-rights advocates farther into a corner. It confirms the suspicion that many gun owners hold that "gun reform" or "gun-safety regulation" is a stalking horse for those whose real agenda is disarming law-abiding Americans - for law-abiding citizens are the only ones who would ever conform to such a draconian decree. And since it targets the law-abiding, the initiative would do nothing at all to make anyone safer.

Moves like this serve only to further polarize an already fraught discussion, eroding potential common ground between people of good faith who could - and must - come together to find holistic solutions to the scourge of mass shootings.

The initiative has a long haul to make it to the ballot, and would certainly face significant constitutional challenges were it to pass. But merely by floating it, the petitioners have undermined the assurances of reformers and confirmed the worst suspicions of Second Amendment advocates. Initiative Petition 43 should be soundly rejected before it ever hits a ballot - by both gun-rights advocates and by serious advocates of good-faith reform of firearms regulations.

Jim Cornelius

Editor in Chief