Mayor proposes 5 laws to curb gang shootings

Portland Mayor Sam Adams »Play Video
Portland Mayor Sam Adams talks to KATU about the gun initiatives he plans to bring before city council in two weeks.

PORTLAND, Ore. – In the wake of nine gang-related shootings since Tuesday, Portland Mayor Sam Adams is proposing five initiatives he says could keep guns from getting in the wrong hands.

"Surprisingly, a lot of gun thefts are not reported," Mayor Adams said. "And we need to change that because too many of these guns end up on the black market and are used in a criminal act."

Among his initiatives is one creating a "city crime" for not reporting lost or stolen guns to police.

"If your gun is stolen, we need you to report it," said Adams, who is a founding member of Mayors Against Illegal Guns. "We need you to report it so we can look for it at secondhand gun shows, so we can look for it at pawn shops."

In addition to the gun-theft-reporting law, Adams is "asking for public discussion" on whether even more rules should be imposed on Portland residents and visitors:

  • Increased penalties for carrying a loaded gun in a public place.
  • A "special curfew" for any juvenile found by a court of law to have violated gun laws.
  • City criminal penalties for any adult who fails to "control access" to a firearm by a child.
  • Exclude people who have been convicted of violating "firearms use or possession laws" from certain areas within Portland. Those areas would be selected based upon whether illegal use of firearms there is "markedly greater" than normal.

Exclusions would be enforced "through arrest for trespass, but with many variances available for necessary and non-harmful activities," according to Adams' proposal.

Indeed, exclusions already are taking place within the city of Portland. This past week, Portland's city council approved an emergency ordinance for McCoy Park. Those banned from the nearby "New Columbia" housing development – for such offenses as drug dealing and gang activity – now also are banned from the 3.82-acre city park. Watch KATU Reporter Anita Kissée's report on this change.

Any changes to city law would need Portland council's sign off. Mayor Adams' new "gun safety" proposal doesn't come up for discussion in city council until two weeks from now.

"There will be a two week public comment period before any of the initiatives are finalized," reports the Mayor's Office in a press release Friday.

The Oregon Firearms Federation website reports a city such as Portland does the right, under Oregon state law, to impose laws that are stricter than the laws for the state.

"The state does allow localities to restrict loaded carry of firearms 'in public places' which, oddly enough, includes your car," according to the Oregon Firearms Federation website. "If you are in a place like Portland or Oregon City, that restricts loaded carry by people who do not have concealed handgun licenses, you may not have a loaded firearm ... Furthermore, if it is a handgun, it must be carried openly or 'not readily accessible.'"

The Mayor's Office reports that a group called Ceasefire Oregon is advocating for additional "gun-safety laws" at a state level.

Portland Mayor Sam Adams"But the enactment of state and federal gun safety laws is a slow and uncertain process," the Mayor's Office contends. "In the meantime, due to lax gun safety laws, cities like Portland get caught in the crossfire: literally and tragically."

Portland Police Bureau and the Office of Youth Violence Prevention already are working with local jurisdictions to address gun violence, Adams' Office reports.

"However, intervention is only part of the solution," his office contends. "A proactive, preventative strategy to limit guns from getting into the wrong hands and providing tougher penalties for gun-related crimes will play a critical role."

What do you think? Do you see advantages to, or problems with, any of the five proposed city initiatives? Weigh in below.

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