January 14th, 2013 | by AARON MESH News | Posted In: City Hall, Activism, Legislature, PDX News

Why Hales is Pushing for Statewide Assault Weapons Ban

lede_charliehales_3909CHARLIE HALES - IMAGE: Peter Hiatt

Update, 10:30 am: Sitting at his desk in the mayor's office, Hales repeated his call for weapons bans at the state and federal level.

"Every potential common-sense step ought to be considered," Hales said. "I don't believe we are without options here."

But the mayor's bully pulpit was interrupted by conservative talk radio host Lars Larson, who provided some soapboxing of his own in the form of booming, pointed questions. Larson—who arrived at the press conference wearing his own handgun in his belt holster—asked Hales whether he was aiming to confiscate AR-15-style rifles or just end sales.

"I'm open to a ban on possession of assault rifles," Hales said. He added he didn't know the details of semiautomatic rifles as well as Larson, but "I know what's happened. And I know the availability of these weapons is something our citizens are concerned about."

Larson asked if Hales was open to arming teachers in schools.

"I haven't met one teacher who thinks that's a good idea," Hales said, turning puckish. "Are we going to include lesson planning and target practice in the weekends? I don't think so."

Original Story:

The City of Portland will ask the Oregon State Legislature to ban certain semiautomatic rifles and high-capacity magazines.

The ban is a top priority of Mayor Charlie Hales, who is holding a press conference at City Hall this morning to demand the federal government increase gun control in the wake of mass shootings in Oregon and Connecticut.

Hales said in a statement Sunday that his press conference will announce he's joining a national coalition called Mayors Against Illegal Guns. In previous conversations with WW, Hales has urged the public to "stay angry and focused on action, not just mourning."

That message has made its way into the city's legislative agenda, the annual list of Portland's priorities in Salem.

City Council will vote on that agenda Wednesday. As first reported by WW's news partner KATU, the city's shopping list includes a section urging the ban on AR-15-style semiautomatic rifles and high-capacity magazines.

"Whether it is a public massacre at the hands of a deranged individual or gang violence, our current gun policies do not effectively prevent the public use of the most deadly firearms including assault weapons and weapons with high-capacity ammunition magazines," the legislative agenda says. "The nature of these weapons can result in mass casualties in mere minutes.

"The City of Portland will support legislation that will help reduce gun violence in Oregon and within city limits," it continues, "including a prohibition on sales of assault weapons and a limit on the capacity of ammunition magazines."

Hales' push for gun control puts him at the forefront of state efforts to ban certain guns and clips. Gov. John Kitzhaber told The Oregonian last week he supports bills proposed by state Sen. Ginny Burdick (D-Portland), but won't spearhead any efforts.

Look for further reporting on Hales' press conference at wweek.com.

 
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