GIVE HIM CREDIT. When it comes to the fate of his controversial gun-law reforms, Mayor Sam Adams isn't bullshitting.
The overhaul, months in the works, was finally unveiled Friday amid the political heat of a particularly violent week of gang strife. And the Oregon Firearms Federation wasted little time scratching its trigger finger this weekend, firing off a churlish attack on Adams—and his peccadilloes—with a promise of more to come.
"I wouldn't be surprised if we get hauled into court," says Adams.
But what could be surprising is whether the gun lobby—already painted as the bad guy by Adams' administration—winds up with some unlikely courtroom allies.
Because as much as Adams' plans, still in draft form, give gun nuts plenty to hate, they also amount to a civil rights minefield that has some activists and minority community leaders sitting on their hands instead of lining up firmly in support.
And while a challenge from the right might actually win points for Adams' effort, a second salvo—but from the left—would certainly doom what's otherwise a sound start at getting guns of the street.
The proposals, in case you missed them, would set up curfews for kids with a history of gun use and ban convicted gun criminals from areas plagued by shootings. Adams also would boost penalties for illegal gun possession when the gun is loaded, make it a crime to furnish a gun to minors, and force gun owners to report when their pieces are lost or stolen.
The state's branch of the American Civil Liberties Union isn't commenting yet. But other activists say they're cautiously watching how the curfew and ban proposals take shape. They remember the city's experience with drug- and hooker-free zones, which were rejected, in part, because they wound up unfairly singling out black Portlanders.
"I hope that it does not become a tool for discrimination," says T. Allen Bethel of the Albina Ministerial Alliance, adding that rest of the reforms are "a good first step."
Adams' proposals will become final in two weeks, after Portlanders have had their chance to speak up. He'd do well to listen hard. So far, he's saying the right things: "I'm concerned about personal liberty." But given the sad reality on our streets, let's hope he doesn't shoot himself in the foot.