(Updated: Adding Details, Video, Staff Presentations on Firearms Regulations, Draft Unsanctioned Camping Code)
May also decide whether to support measure 114 in the November vote
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) – Since the deadly shooting at Bend’s Eastside Safeway last month, the community has been looking for ways to prevent such tragedies from happening in the future.
Councilwoman Melanie Kebler and the Bend City Council will consider possible actions and review regulations passed by several other Oregon cities that make public possession of a loaded firearm unlawful at a working session Wednesday night.
“This is a response to our community that really wants security,” Kebler, who is running for mayor this fall, said earlier Wednesday. “I look forward to talking about our options and finding out what we could do here.”
The Council is also discussing red flag legislation and Voting Rights Measure 114.
Measure 114 would prohibit ammunition magazines containing more than 10 rounds. Before people attempt to purchase a gun, they would need to obtain a “Purchase Authorization” issued by law enforcement. Applicants would also have to provide photo ID, provide fingerprinting, complete gun safety training, and pass a criminal background check, no matter how long it would take to complete.
“I support measure 114,” said Kebler. “I think it’s just sensible gun control that our state needs to improve safety.”
The NRA has called Ballot 114 the most extreme gun control initiative in the country.
A local gun shop owner, who declined to speak on camera, told NewsChannel 21 on Wednesday that he believed the measure was a performative action rather than one to address gun violence.
Chris Piper, the other mayoral candidate, told NewsChannel 21 in a statement:
“Understandably, this was a horrifying event to occur at Safeway and has left many in our community sad and troubled. Pointless actions like this go against all our beliefs. I believe that as a community, region and state, we strive to maintain an environment where everyone feels safe, respected and valued. Thank you to our brave first responders who bravely risked their lives. It is important that we remember Mr Surrett, whose bravery helped prevent further deaths. This event needs to prioritize the importance of mental health care to Oregon and review our Oregon Firearms Instant Check System to determine what changes may need to be made. In my opinion, this issue needs to be at the state and federal level, but local officials can certainly bring voices/opinions from their community.”
The gun owner said giving gun shops more access to personal and medical information about a potential buyer could be a way to limit guns falling into the wrong hands.
But the owner said measures like these make it harder for former law enforcement, veterans, longtime and first-time gun owners to buy firearms.
“Yes, I don’t think anything in this measure will affect people who are responsible gun owners,” Kebler said. “What it does is increase security, improve the ability to keep guns out of the hands of the wrong people who shouldn’t have them, and it’s actually based on things that have worked in other states.”
The staff report to the Council notes that 15 states, including California and Washington, have programs authorized to purchase.
In addition, 10 states are named, including California, New Jersey and New York, which limit the magazine capacity to 10.
On September 7, Councilors Kebler and Barb Campbell asked other councilors to support a future discussion of what the council can do on gun violence. She said she’s looking for a working session discussion “to show the community that we’re really serious about this and want to do what we can at the city level.”
The prosecutors’ presentation to city councilors Wednesday night (embedded below) notes the state’s existing firearms regulations and what local governments can regulate only when specifically authorized by lawmakers to do so.
The city already regulates the purchase of guns by thrift stores and bans the firing of firearms within city limits, but currently only bans loaded firearm possession in parks. The presentation lists four Oregon cities that have regulations banning loaded firearms and describes the state’s “red flag law,” which allows people to petition a court to take guns from someone deemed a risk viewed for oneself or others.
Councilors will also consider and discuss the City Attorney’s Office draft code regulating unauthorized camping (full presentation below) after months of council and staff discussions and ahead of two public debates scheduled for next week.
While it would ban such camping on public trails as well as in urban residential areas, there are caveats — for example, it wouldn’t preclude using public places to rest.
Enforcement of the Class C civil offense (the lowest level) would involve an assessment of the person’s situation and could not be enforced if the person had no housing available. The primary enforcement “might likely” be removal of the camp, under state law and city policy, after a 72-hour grace period.