Constitutional Law

Ban on carrying loaded guns absent a concealed-carry permit is upheld by Oregon supremes

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The Oregon Supreme Court has upheld a Portland ordinance that prohibits the carrying of loaded guns in public places.

In an opinion (PDF) issued on Thursday, the court said the loaded-gun ban does not violate the Second Amendment or the Oregon Constitution. The court noted 14 exemptions to the city’s loaded-gun ban, including one for people who have obtained a state license to carry a concealed weapon. Police officers, hunters and people traveling to target ranges are also exempted.

The court pointed to language in the U.S. Supreme Court ruling District of Columbia v. Heller that said the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms is not absolute.

The defendant challenging the Portland ordinance had argued that the right to keep weapons for self-defense in the home, upheld in Heller, implies a right to keep and carry loaded firearms in public without restriction. “However, Heller does not support that expansive proposition,” the Oregon Supreme Court said.

The court said strict scrutiny should not be used to evaluate the ordinance because it is not an absolute restriction on constitutionally protected activity.

The court ruled in the case of Jonathan Christian, who was convicted for violating the ordinance after he gave police permission to search his bag located behind a convenience store counter. Police say they found two loaded 9-mm semiautomatic handguns. The court said it was limiting its description of the underlying facts because Christian did not bring an “as applied” challenge to the law.

Hat tip to How Appealing and the Oregonian.

Prior coverage: “Does Second Amendment protect right to carry gun outside home? SCOTUS declines to decide the issue”

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