Oregon county to tighten gun rules

Multnomah officials tweak existing law

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PORTLAND — Multnomah County commissioners voted unanimously Thursday to tighten local gun regulations.

State law largely pre-empts local jurisdictions from crafting gun measures, so the ordinance approved Thursday makes minor tweaks to existing laws, The Oregonian reported.

Mostly, it adopts language the city of Portland approved in 2010.

The ordinance makes it illegal to fire a gun within the county. It also bans possession of a loaded firearm in public, makes failing to report the theft of a gun a crime and makes it illegal to allow a child to possess a gun without the owner's permission.

Among the exemptions are people with concealed handgun licenses, hunters, people defending themselves, retired or off-duty law enforcement officers, and those on their own property as long as they aren't endangering others.

Objections came from a butcher and a hiker.

Ken Piper, of Troutdale, said he regularly carries a loaded firearm while hiking in rural areas, mainly as protection from cougars.

"Now, because I don't possess a concealed handgun permit," he said, "I'll be violating the law by carrying a loaded gun to protect my family."

Portland resident Rick Gilmore said he was not convinced when commissioners said he wouldn't be violating the law when he slaughters a hog or steer on his own property.

"These proposals are aimed at regular citizens who try to do the right thing," he said. "It will make criminals out of them."

The proposal got support from Sheriff Dan Staton, District Attorney Rod Underhill and several pediatricians, who said it might cut down on the number of children harmed by guns.

"It is my not goal to restrict anyone's Second Amendment rights," Commissioner Deborah Kafoury said before voting for the ordinance. "That's the reason I'm supporting it."