The Oregon Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that an ordinance banning ordinary citizens and residents from carrying loaded firearms in the city of Portland, Oregon, is constitutional. The court explained that the ordinance did not pursue any blanket ban on firearms and on possessing them, but it just regulated “the manner of possession and use of firearms in public places.”
The court also pointed out that the ordinance allowed 14 exceptions including police officers, licensed security guards, and individuals with valid concealed carry permits.
Justice Richard Baldwin wrote, “the ordinance reflects a legislative determination 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.”
In the instant case, Jonathan D. Christian was arrested for carrying a bag full of weapons into a convenience store. He had on his person a loaded magazine, pepper spray, two knives, and an empty gun holster. In the bag, he carried additional magazines and two semiautomatic 9 mm handguns.
His bag made security suspicious, and even though he did not express any criminal intentions, he was arrested and later convicted for violating the gun ban in Multnomah County Circuit Court. He appealed, but the appeals court upheld his conviction.
Christian petitioned the Supreme Court where his attorneys argued that the ordinance violates the right to keep and bear arms for lawful purposes like self-defense, as conviction for violating the ordinance results in a mandatory 30-day sentence.
However, the Oregon Supreme Court was not convinced, especially because the ordinance made 14 exceptions, and persons with a concealed carry permit could carry a gun according to the terms of their licenses.