State v. Christian

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Supreme Court
  • Area(s) of Law: Constitutional Law
  • Date Filed: 08-15-2013
  • Case #: S060407
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Baldwin, J. for the Court; Balmer, C.J.; Kistler, J.; Walters, J.; Linder, J.; and Landau, J.

Ordinance prohibiting possession of a loaded firearm in public is not an unconstitutional denial of the right to bear arms in self-defense. Additionally, the Court will not consider overbreadth challenges in Article I, Section 27 cases.

Defendant was convicted of carrying a firearm in a public place “having recklessly failed to unload it” under Portland City Code 14A.60.010. Defendant challenged the constitutionality of the ordinance under Article I, section 27, of the Oregon Constitution, and under the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Defendant argued that the ordinance was overbroad because it invaded his right to bear arms in self-defense, thus violating his rights under the Oregon and U.S. Constitutions. On review, the Court initially determined that overbreadth challenges are not appropriate in Article I, section 27 cases and overruled precedent to the contrary. Consequently, the Court characterized Defendant’s overbreadth challenge as a facial challenge to the City Code. Next, the Court applied the standard of intermediate, rather than strict, scrutiny because the ordinance did not impose an absolute restriction on defendant’s right to bear arms in public as a means of self-defense. For instance, the ordinance permits persons who are licensed to carry a concealed weapon in the state to carry a loaded firearm in public. The Court found that the ordinance reasonably protected the public from the risks associated with having loaded firearms in public and enforcement of the ordinance substantially furthered that objective. Accordingly, the ordinance was held Constitutional under the Oregon and U.S. Constitutions. Affirmed.

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