Molalla divided after patrol walk with firearms

A few residents openly carried firearms during a "community patrol event"

Scott Smith, a supporter of open carry gun laws, wears a pistol as he prepares for a rally in support of open carry gun laws at the Capitol, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

MOLALLA, Ore. (AP) – An Oregon community is divided after a few residents openly carried firearms during a “community patrol event.”

The Oregonian/OregonLive reports that organizers say the two-hour Wednesday night walk was meant to help police and suppress criminal activity.

City Councilor Leota Childress says the walk raises as many issues as it was supposed to solve. She wrote on Facebook that she was concerned about the group’s plan to look for “unwanted persons.”

Councilor Jimmy Thompson participated in the event and says the walk was organized by longtime Moalla resident John Chenoweth. Thompson says the idea was prompted by a sense that property crimes are on the rise in the 9,000-person community.

Chenoweth says he hopes to organize another walk next week but wants it to remain gun-free.

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