Guns

Oregon Supreme Court Finds Portland Ban on Loaded Guns in Public Places Constitutional

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht
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The Oregon Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the Portland ordinance banning the carrying of loaded guns in public areas is not in violation of the 2nd Amendment right to bears arms.

State and City of Portland v. Jonation D. Christian is the first time the state supreme court weighed in on the controversial ordinance.

Jonation D. Christian was arrested in 2008, after he gave police officers permission to search his bag in a convenience store, and they found two loaded 9-mm semiautomatic handguns. He also had an empty gun holster, a loaded magazine, two knives and pepper spray with him. 

Christian was convicted of violating the ordinance in 2011. He maintains that the guns found in his bag weren’t loaded, but the appeal did not address that claim.

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"The ability of cities statewide to protect their citizens was an important consideration" for the court, wrote Justice Richard Baldwin in the court ruling.

Baldwin said the ruling aims "to protect the safety of people on the streets of Portland by limiting the number of loaded firearms that are out there."

On the books for decades, the ordinance was amended in December 2010 to add a mandatory 30-day jail term for violators, according to The Oregonian.

The court noted, however, that there are 14 exemptions to the ordinance, including people who have a state concealed-carry permit. Hunters and people travelling to target ranges are also exempt.

"The ordinance reflects a legislative determination," Baldwin wrote, "that the risk of death or serious injury to members of the public moving about in public places is increased by the threat posed by individuals who recklessly fail to unload their firearms."

Sources: The Oregonian, ABA Journal