An ordinance banning individuals from carrying loaded firearms in the city of Portland, Oregon, is constitutional, the state’s high court ruled on Thursday.
Justice Richard Baldwin, who penned the unanimous ruling in State and City of Portland v. Jonathan D. Christian, explained that the ordinance is constitutional because it’s not an outright ban on carrying loaded firearms in public. Instead, it just regulates “the manner of possession and use of firearms in public places.”
To be more specific there are 14 exceptions to the law, including one that permits law-abiding individuals with valid concealed carry permits, police officers, licensed security guards and other groups of people to bear arms in public.
“The ordinance reflects a legislative determination,” Baldwin wrote, “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.”
The plaintiff in the case, Jonathan D. Christian, was arrested in 2008 for bringing a bag full of weapons into a convenience store. According to the police report, Christian had on him an empty gun holster, a loaded magazine, two knives, pepper spray and, in the bag, two semiautomatic 9mm handguns and additional magazines.
It doesn’t appear that he had any foul intent. Nevertheless, his bag aroused the suspicion of nearby police officers.