Interfaith leaders, youths to push for assault-rifle ban

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Religious leaders in Oregon intend to harness the youthful campaign for gun control to gather enough signatures to put a ban on assault rifles on the statewide ballot in November.

Pastor Mark Knutson of the Augustana Lutheran Church in Portland, who will be one of the three chief petitioners for the initiative, said the campaign will be formally announced at the church at 5 p.m. Thursday.

He said many doubt the effort to gather over 88,000 signatures by July 6 will succeed, but that he’s counting on young people to get them.

Knutson told The Associated Press in a phone interview that “this is going to be a youth campaign.”

The other chief petitioners are an Episcopal pastor emeritus who’s also a former high school principal, and a rabbi.