This Week in the Mercury


Monday, September 27, 2010

Another Gang Shooting; Adams' Gun Laws Still Being Vetted

Posted by Denis C. Theriault on Mon, Sep 27, 2010 at 3:50 PM

Part of the memorial for Andre Payton, 19.
  • Benjamin Brink—The Oregonian
  • Part of the memorial for Andre Payton, 19.
Authorities this afternoon have released the name of a man who was shot dead in Old Town early Sunday in what police are calling a gang-related shooting.

Andre Payton, 19, was found with a gunshot wound in his chest just after 2 AM, according to media reports—struck after a gunbattle erupted in a crowd near NW 2nd and Couch. Payton was taken to OHSU Hospital, where he later died.

News of the shooting—along with another one this weekend in North Portland—harked back to a similar outburst of violence this summer. After that series of shootings (and perhaps to answer some criticism), Mayor Sam Adams rolled out a list of strict new gun restrictions that he hoped would put the clamps on precisely this kind of senselessness.

The final version of the proposals was supposed to emerge by the end of this month. But with the end of the month is only a few days away, there's still no sign of the package on the City Council's docket. So I called the mayor's spokesman, Roy Kaufmann, for an update.

The new ETA? Keep reading.

The package is now expected the third week of October, Kaufmann says. Adams' office is still refining the proposals to make sure they pass legal muster in a state whose laws pre-empt most local gun regulations. The draft proposals would, in part, create a curfew for teens who have committed gun crimes, ban convicted gun criminals from gunshot "hot spots," and make it a city crime to fail to report lost or stolen guns.

Sunday's shooting is "another example of the toll that the community takes when there's an uptick in illegal guns," Kaufmann says.

Kaufmann wouldn't get specific, but said discussions to vet the proposals are ongoing with the Multnomah County District Attorney's Office, the U.S. Attorney's Office and other "key judicial system players."

"We want to be 100 percent positive that what we bring forward will stand up to any challenges," he says.

Beyond any technical legal concerns, the proposals have also raised the ire of gun rights lobbyists and the eyebrows of civil libertarians. But Kaufmann says there have been "no compelling arguments" to date for outright dropping any of the mayor's proposals.

Still, does the delay mean the plan is facing legal hurdles too high to leap? We may know more in a couple of weeks.

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