PORTLAND, Ore. – Mayor Sam Adams has his ideas on how to put a stop to those gang-related shootings across Portland. But while some people in Portland support the mayor's ideas, others think he's overstepping his authority.
Bullet holes in this empty building represent fresh gang violence police are trying to stop. Linea Gagliano, who has an 8-week-old son, lives nearby this bullet-riddled building and believes the mayor's ideas could work.
"I do love the neighborhood," said Gagliano, "and I hope that the violence is curbed and guns are controlled."
Wednesday's drive-by shooting in her Northeast Portland neighborhood is one of nine gang-related shootings across the city since Tuesday, Portland police say.
It is why Adams believes his proposed changes to city code – such as barring those with gun charges from high-crime areas and making not reporting a lost gun a crime – could solve the problem. After all, Adams believes that just because state laws don't govern these areas "that doesn't mean we should sit on our hands and do nothing," he told KATU earlier this week.
But for such gun advocates as Kevin Starrett, "it's a joke. His proposals are absurd, meaningless and it'll have no effect on anything."
Starrett is with the Oregon Firearms Federation, the state’s only "no compromise" gun lobby. In Starrett's view, Adams has no authority to make tougher gun laws than the laws that govern the rest of the state – only the Oregon state legislature has the authority “to regulate, restrict or prohibit the sale, acquisition, transfer, ownership, possession, storage, transportation or use of firearms,” he said.
And he says new laws probably would not have much effect anyway.
"If people are committing these crimes they should be in prison," Starrett said. "To say we're going to exclude you from the neighborhood or impose a curfew on you when you should be locked up is just laughable."
He called the mayor’s proposal “a public relations stunt that will backfire.”
Now the fight to end gang-related shootings opens the debate: How do you stop the violence without affecting gun owners' rights?
On Friday the Gang Violence Task Force met to help come up with a plan. However, longtime gang outreach worker John Canda points out that Sam Adams and the police commissioner weren't at the table Friday.
Mayor Adams has said he hopes the public weighs in on these ideas. He's giving everyone the next two weeks before he sends his "gun safety" initiatives to Portland city council.
- Read more about the proposed new gun laws
- Send a note to the mayor's office
- FAQs about Oregon gun laws from the Oregon Firearms Federation
- Take the KATU.com poll
The building on Northeast Killingsworth Street and 16th Avenue shot into on Wednesday. Early reports indicate someone from inside a silver minivan fired shots at the building and then drove off:
Kevin Starrett with the Oregon Firearms Federation talks to KATU Saturday: