Mayor Sam Adams
this morning vigorously defended his controversial proposal to crack down on illegal guns, telling WW
it will not detract from other efforts to fight gang violence in Portland
Adams said the city has invested millions in gang outreach efforts in the last two decades but has done very little to eradicate the illegal guns used to perpetrate gang violence.
"When you look back over two decades, it's been no work on guns," Adams says. "The city has sat on its hands and ignored it."
Adams on Thursday will present an ordinance to the City Council that would crack down on illegal guns in five ways
. The most controversial aspect is his proposal to ban people convicted of gun crimes from zones with a high number of shootings.
Adams took heat last summer from some African-American leaders in Portland who called him out as being an absentee on the gang issue. Since then he's made fighting gangs a centerpiece of his role as police commissioner after taking over the cop shop
from City Commissioner Dan Saltzman
Adams says his gun ordinance would give the police new tools and cost the city almost nothing. He said it would not take resources away from the "soft" side of gang outreach, like contacting families and providing alternatives for youth.
"There's been a lot of efforts on that and very little effort around guns," Adams says. "It's that omission that this addresses."
Check out tomorrow's WW
to learn what others think of Adams' gun plan.