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May 9th, 2007 Nicholas Deshais | News Stories
 

Show us your guns

Gun turn-in is this weekend in Northeast Portland. But after Virginia Tech, why not a turn-in at PSU?

     
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Days before the April 16 carnage at Virginia Tech, a Portland State University housekeeper reported a man wandering around PSU’s West Hall dorm with a handgun.
On the same day of the Virginia Tech killings, a former Oregon State University student was sentenced to five months in jail for shooting a homeless man with a .22-caliber rifle from his fraternity house window.
On April 24, Portland Community College shut down its Rock Creek campus after receiving a note threatening a repeat of Virginia Tech.
And this Saturday, May 12, Ceasefire Oregon is holding its 13th annual gun turn-in, this one at Redeemer Lutheran Church on Northeast Killingsworth Street and 20th Avenue.
Given the recent events on Oregon campuses, WW asked Ceasefire Oregon: Why not hold a gun turn-in at universities or community colleges instead?
“We’d really have to be invited,” says Shawn Alford, a Ceasefire Oregon board member.
Alford says her nonprofit group would like to do a campus event in the state.
“I can’t say I wouldn’t be interested in something like that,” says Mike Soto, director of public safety at Portland State. “[But] I’ve been here 27 years, and I’ve seen no violent discharge of a weapon.”
In the past year, there were 22 violations of weapon laws within a half-mile of PSU’s campus, according to the city. Only one of these was on campus. There were no homicides. (No one has been arrested at PSU for the April 13 dorm incident, though the investigation continues.)
The last serious physical injury at PSU took place in December, when a knifing occurred in another student residence, the Broadway building. According to Soto, the last homicide at PSU was in the late 1970s.
Back at this weekend’s gun turn-in, residents are glad to have Ceasefire Oregon. In the past year, there have been four violations of weapon laws within a half-mile of Redeemer Lutheran Church and no homicides, according to city data.
In exchange for each surrendered gun, Ceasefire Oregon will give a $50 gift certificate for New Seasons, Union 76 gasoline or other neighborhood businesses. Once turned in, the guns become police property and are eventually melted down.
“It’s great they’re coming here,” says Katie Ugolini, chairwoman of the Concordia Neighborhood Association, which is sponsoring the event. Ugolini, a psychologist, says her neighborhood isn’t particularly dangerous, but “one firearm in the wrong hands can do a lot of damage.”

The gun turn-in takes place Saturday, May 12, from 10 am to 2 pm at Redeemer Lutheran Church at Northeast Killingsworth Street and 20th Avenue. Ceasefire Oregon has accumulated more than 6,500 guns since beginning its turn-in program at locations in the Portland area 13 years ago.
 
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