PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — In the wake U.S. senators rejecting expanded background checks, Multnomah County commissioners will take up gun control measures of their own Thursday.
The local efforts are modest. Critics are calling them pointless.
However, KOIN 6 News found that — in at least one Portland case — the proposed measures could make a difference.
Ami Garrett’s brush with gun violence happened in December. As she sat in her car at a church at Southeast 160th Avenue and Stark Street she was confronted by an 11-year-old boy.
“He, like, flashed me his gun and I was like is that real?” said the victim, who talked to KOIN 6 News in December. “And he was like, ‘You don’t ever ask if it’s real; that’s how you get yourself shot.”
Garrett avoided the carjacking — but authorities said the 7- and 11-year-olds who pulled a gun on her were too young for prosecution.
At the time the incident may have gone unpunished had it not been for the city of Portland’s modest gun-control measures it put in place in 2010. Instead, 34-year-old Joseph Charleton — father of the 11-year-old — was charged in the case for not preventing his 11-year-old from having access to a handgun.
“We’re pre-empted at the state level from doing a lot of things — the big ticket items,” Multnomah County Commissioner Debora Kafoury said. “But there are these small, incremental steps which we think can make a huge difference.”
The county’s proposal would do the following:
- Ban possession of a loaded gun in public
- Make it illegal to fire a gun in the county
- Make it illegal to fail to report a gun theft, and
- Make it illegal for a child to possess a gun without the owner’s permission.
But the Oregon Firearms Federation remains unconvinced.
Federation members believe the county’s proposal infringes on gun owners rights — especially the rights of people in rural parts of the county who might need weapons the most.
However, there’s nothing in the county’s new rule that prevents people from defending themselves with firearms.
Under this proposal concealed carriers also won’t be affected, and still can carry loaded firearms in public. Shooting ranges and hunters also are not affected.
Meanwhile, on Wednesday the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office stopped processing concealed handgun license applications for Washington state residents. The temporary change is a first for the department.
The county reports that it has 2,400 backlogged applications and another 200 that haven’t even been entered into the system. Oregon state statute 166.292 requires that approved permits must be issued within 45 days of application.
“In order to ensure this timeline continues to be met, the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office will only process Multnomah County resident CHL applications,” according to a sheriff’s office release. “Once the current backlog has been reduced sufficiently, we will reopen the application process to Washington state residents who wish to apply for a CHL in Oregon.”