He threatened it, and now he’s gone and done it. Hizzonor Sam Adams, a self-professed ‘Founding Member’ of billionaire Michael Bloomberg’s personally funded anti-gun vendetta, known colloquially as ‘Mayors Against Illegal Guns’, has persuaded his city council to adopt new gun-control measures to allegedly protect the residents of Stumptown from evil bad violence. How much money did Adams, as a ‘founding member’ contribute to MAIG? Probably none, since almost the entire cabal is funded from Mayor Bloomberg’s personal wealth. But enough about megalomaniac billionaires . . .
Mayor Adams, whose public dishonesty about a romantic relationship with a 17-year-old intern triggered (so to speak) a rash of resignations from his staff and an abortive recall campaign, has a long and well-documented distaste for guns and those who own them. He has previously opined:
The illegal use of firearms is a long-standing community problem in the City of Portland. Changes to federal and state gun laws are needed. That is why I am a founding member of Mayors Against Illegal Guns. At the state level, Ceasefire Oregon is advocating for common-sense gun safety laws. The Brady Campaign is working on gun education and lobbying on the national level.
But the enactment of state and federal gun safety laws is a slow and uncertain process. In the meantime, due to lax gun safety laws, cities like Portland get caught in the crossfire: literally and tragically.
The new rules allow the Portland Police Bureau to issue ‘exclusion orders’ against anyone who has been convicted of any of a list of specified gun-related crimes, prohibiting them from entering designated ‘hot spots’ of gun crime, which include most of downtown Portland itself and large swathes of the incorporated urban area.
The police need not give any notice or hearing before issuing such orders (by mail), and the excluded persons only have five days to appeal the order to a non-elected city official for a rubber-stamp ‘hearing.’ No limits are placed on the Police’s discretion to issue or not issue such orders, nor on their authority to issue or revoke the ‘variance’ orders which modify or terminate them.
Due process much, Portland?
The new ordinances also create the new crime of “Failing To Report A Stolen Firearm” within 48 hours after discovering that the gun is missing. And those who DO report such theft are subject to a $200 ‘administrative fee’ if they cannot provide the lost gun’s serial number.
The new rules also chip away at what little remains of open carry in the state of Oregon, despite Oregon’s state-law preemption of local firearms regulations. The new laws criminalize the carry of a loaded firearm in a public place in Portland OR the carrying of an unloaded firearm along with a loaded clip or magazine of ammunition.
Confused by all this? So am I, but keeping track of Oregon’s gun-carry laws is easier if you remember “Green Eggs And Ham”:
You cannot take guns on a trip, not in a car, not with a clip;
Not in a bar, not on your feet, not Glock or SCAR, not on the street!
Not on a ship, or on a tram, you cannot have them!” said Sam (Adams) I Am.
With apologies to Dr. Suess, you could still, in theory, openly carry a snubbie and a speedloader, or at least a pocketful of loose rounds, but this doesn’t constitute legal advice and I wouldn’t want to test that theory myself. Then again, I’ve got an Oregon concealed-carry permit, so I’ll never have to.
The new law throws gun owners another curveball, although not an unexpected one, by creating the new crime of “Endangering A Child By Allowing Access To A Firearm.” I have less of an issue with this provision than I do with the others, for the following reasons:
1) Many of TTAG’s “Irresponsible Gun Owner Of The Day” awards go to idiots who let children get at their guns, and
2) “Secure Your Firearms” is (or should have been) written on the stone tablets that (John) Moses (Browning) carried down from the mountain along with his drawings for the 1911 and 1894.
Either way, this new criminal provision is riddled with loopholes and exemptions, allowing almost any gun owner (negligent or not) to avoid prosecution.
The ACLU of Oregon has long opposed several other kinds of ‘exlusion zone’ laws similar to these new anti-gun efforts, including prostitution zones and drug zones. The ACLU, however, has always had a Second Amendment-shaped blind spot in its professed passion for liberty, and the Oregon chapter has publicly announced no plans to challenge these new Portland exclusion zones. They have not replied to my request for comment.
The stalwarts at the Oregon Firearms Federation are eyeing their strategies for challenging the whole kitchen sink of new laws, on several constitutional grounds. They arguably violate the Separation of Powers doctrine by allowing police, instead of judges, to issue enforceable writs against private parties, and they clearly violate all constitutional norms of Due Process, since they do not provide notice and an opportunity to be heard before the ‘exclusion orders’ are printed up and mailed out. They also provide no limits on the discretion of the rubber-stamp ‘hearings officer’ who will affirm them if they’re ever appealed.
But the Oregon Firearms Federation has discovered, along with many other interest-group litigants, that ‘standing to sue’ may prevent them from taking effective court action against these new laws. Simply put, unless the Federation itself or (under some circumstances) its membership is harmed by the new rules, then the Federation lacks constitutional ‘standing’ to bring a lawsuit to challenge them. The Federation, and other gun-rights groups, also face the challenges that
1) Lawsuits are damned expensive, and
2) Not many upstanding OFF members are urban Portlandians with violent-crime or gun-related criminal histories. Gun-rights groups tend to attract a different demographic.
The NRA-ILA has sounded the alarm about these new laws, but they haven’t announced any litigation either. Probably for the same reasons as the Oregon Firearms Federation, the NRA is holding its fire, so to speak.
Mayor Adams has said he expects that his city will be sued over these new laws. He’s probably right, even though we don’t know who’s going to quarterback the litigation. But hasn’t hizzhonor found a wonderful way of distracting his detractors, and spending a ton of Portland taxpayer’s money in the process?