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Ashland City Council to hold hearing on guns

Ban proposed on loaded firearms in public areas
 Posted: 2:00 AM March 17, 2014

Citizens can weigh in on proposed gun regulations during an Ashland City Council hearing Tuesday.

The public hearing will begin at 7 p.m. in the Ashland Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main St.

Councilors are especially interested in hearing comments about a proposal to ban the carrying of loaded guns in public.

City Attorney David Lohman says that proposal is the most legally defensible, since a similar ban in Portland has been upheld by the Oregon Supreme Court.

A group called Citizens for a Safe Ashland originally proposed the ban as well as a law that gun owners store their weapons in a way to prevent unauthorized access by minors.

The second proposal is more likely to be challenged in court if adopted, leading to litigation costs that could surpass $150,000, Lohman said.

State law bars local jurisdictions from adopting laws on gun storage and ammunition.

Citizens can comment on a range of options before the council, including adopting a ban on carrying loaded weapons in public or other gun regulations or referring those proposed rules to voters; asking the Oregon Legislature to allow local regulations on gun storage and ammunition; adopting or referring to voters mixed options; adopting a declaration that Ashland does not welcome people carrying loaded weapons in public or referring a declaration to voters; and taking no action.

A ban on the carrying of loaded weapons in public would not apply to some people, including those with concealed handgun permits, and police officers.

People who want to carry guns into Tuesday's public hearing — either concealed or displayed openly — must show they have a concealed handgun permit because the meeting is inside a public building, according to the Ashland Police Department.

During a previous study session on the gun issue, gun rights advocates brought their openly displayed guns to the meeting, which later sparked an argument outside between opponents and proponents of gun regulations.

Staff reporter Vickie Aldous can be reached at 541-776-4486 or valdous@mailtribune.com. Follow her at www.twitter.com/VickieAldous.


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