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Editor’s note: Today’s editorial originally appeared in The Oregonian. Editorial content from other publications and authors is provided to give readers a sampling of regional and national opinion and does not necessarily reflect positions endorsed by the Editorial Board of The Daily News.

As contradictory as it may seem, gun-control advocates should breathe a sigh of relief that a proposed ballot measure to outlaw assault weapons in Oregon won’t go before voters in November.

Initiative Petition 43, hastily filed in the weeks following a mass shooting at a Parkland, Florida high school, was overly broad and clumsily written, seeking to ban a wide range of military-style rifles and semi-automatic pistols. A provision to criminalize ownership of such weapons was needlessly inflammatory, igniting a firestorm among gun owners who could face felony charges if they failed to meet timelines for registering, surrendering or destroying any of the listed weapons.

While legislating complicated policy via initiative is rarely a good idea, IP 43 organizers ratcheted up the degree of difficulty with a rushed timeline that left no room for error. This was not the gun-control proposal on which to bet the house.

And of course, there was error. The Oregon Supreme Court last month rejected proposed ballot language drafted by Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum as misleading and inaccurate. The delay killed backers’ chances for collecting the necessary signatures by July 6 to qualify the proposal for the ballot. They are now eyeing the 2020 election.

But the clergy members and others leading the campaign should rethink that plan. Their best chance for lasting change comes not through threatening a divisive battle at the ballot box but by working with lawmakers, gun-owners, gun-control activists and others to pass reasonable firearm restrictions that balances rights with responsibilities.

There’s reason to trust the Legislature on this front. Lawmakers have already made significant strides — with some bipartisan backing, no less — in tailoring gun restrictions to achieve well-defined goals. In 2017, Republican Sen. Brian Boquist championed a groundbreaking bill that allows authorities to seize an individual’s firearms if a judge determines the person is at risk for harming themselves or others.

In the first four months of the law’s enactment, judges have authorized taking weapons away in at least 24 cases, as The Oregonian/OregonLive’s Gordon Friedman recently wrote. Those who either voluntarily surrendered their weapons or had them seized included a Brookings man who loaded his gun during a fight with his wife over her decision to leave him; a Portland man who posed for photos with his semi-automatic rifle and talked of planning a school shooting; and a Pendleton man whose sister stopped him from returning to work to shoot his boss after being fired. Other cases included firearm owners who were suicidal, delusional or compromised by drugs or alcohol.

While it’s too early to draw firm conclusions about how well the law works, the fact that legislators passed such a bill — without a referral to voters — is a clear sign that Oregon’s elected officials have the courage, focus and will to adopt reasonable and targeted restrictions.

Similarly, a few Republicans joined Democrats in 2017 to pass a bill closing the “boyfriend” loophole in state law. The bill, prioritized by Gov. Kate Brown, prohibits intimate partners who have been convicted of domestic violence or stalking from being able to purchase firearms. Previously, the law covered only spouses. While a more modest change, the bill again shows that legislators are willing to buck powerful gun interests for sensible reforms.

That might not satisfy the go-for-broke activists who want monumental changes now — whether or not the sought-after “fixes” will really fix anything. But they should also recognize what go-for-broke politicking generates in response. As IP 43 gained steam, gun-rights advocates started their own county-wide ballot initiatives seeking to undercut enforcement of any new restrictions. Dueling ballot initiatives, each seeking to outdo the other, only guarantee that such escalating efforts turn any common ground that could have been found into scorched earth.

We don’t need any more battlegrounds. We’ve already seen too many schools, malls, concert venues, nightclubs and newsrooms be turned into those. The campaign’s backers should focus their attention on Salem and push for change there.

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