Ashland asks more research on gun restrictions
ASHLAND — The Ashland City Council has been warned that proposed municipal gun restrictions could lead to expensive legal fights.
Some residents have asked the council to ban carrying loaded guns openly in public and to require guns to be stored so that children can't get to them.
City Attorney David Lohman briefed the council Monday night, and it called for more legal research. The meeting attracted an overflow crowd of people concerned about gun violence and Second Amendment gun rights, the Ashland Daily Tidings reported.
The Oregon Firearms Federation has vowed to sue Ashland if it enforces regulations on storage. It has urged gun owners to avoid vacationing in the tourist and theater town.
Carrying a loaded weapon in public is legal in Oregon if a person does not try to conceal the weapon. People who carry concealed guns must have permits.
But cities can require that weapons carried openly be unloaded, and a number have done so, Lohman said. Portland's ban has been upheld, he said, but the risk of litigation would come if an officer stopped and searched somebody, leading to an arrest, conviction and challenge to the officer's reasonable suspicion.
“If someone were arrested and tried and convicted under this element, there's a good chance it would be challenged in court and we would be dealing with litigation,” Lohman said.
The city would be in uncertain legal territory with a storage regulation, he said.
Ashland resident Daisy Hering said she and about 30 other people are involved in bringing forward the proposed gun regulations, which she called practical, common-sense ideas.
“We're mostly parents of small children, and we don't like all the accidents and intentional shootings taking place in this country,” she said.
Christopher Lloyd, who brought a pistol and AR-15 rifle to the meeting, said people with loaded guns in public could stop a mass shooter.
“A good person with a gun stops a bad person with a gun,” Lloyd said.
Police Chief Terry Holderness said that in the last five years, Ashland has seen nine robberies in which a gun was displayed and two felony assault cases where a gun was fired. Local gun regulations are up to the council and the community, Holderness said.
“It's more a statement of community values than something we deal with on a regular basis,” he said.
Information from: The Ashland Daily Tidings, http://www.dailytidings.com