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Hales endorses gun control measures

Mayor Charlie Hales will hold a press conference Monday morning to endorse a series of gun control measures.

They include a ban on so-called assault weapons, a ban on the sale of large-capacity magazines, and government background checks on all gun sales, including those between private individuals.

The endorsement comes in the wake of a recent series of mass shootings — including one in the Clackamas Town Center on Dec. 11 — and the introduction of gun control measure in Congress and the 2013 Oregon Legislature that starts Monday. The Portland City Council is scheduled to consider gun control measures as part of its legislative agenda on Wednesday.

“We have to get angry. And we have to stay angry,” Hales said in a prepared statement. “Gun violence is not acceptable. We need action now.”

Monday is the one-month anniversary of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.

Measures that Hales is scheduled to endorse include:

• Requiring criminal background checks for all gun sales. According to the statement, "Background checks are the only systematic way to stop felons, domestic abusers and other dangerous people from buying firearms. But federal law only requires background checks for gun sales at licensed dealers. Almost 6.5 million guns are sold each year in the U.S. by unlicensed 'private sellers,' including online and at gun shows."

• Banning "military-style" assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. According to the statement, "Military-style weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines have no place on our streets. They are designed to kill large numbers of people quickly, and they have no other use in civilian hands."

• Making gun trafficking a federal crime. According to the statement, "Every year, tens of thousands of guns find their way into the hands of criminals through illegal trafficking channels. But there is no clear and effective statute that makes gun trafficking a federal crime."

The statement says that last week, Hales became a signatory of the group, Mayors Against Illegal Guns. The organization includes an estimated 800 mayors from small towns to large cities throughout the United States who are calling on President Obama and Congress to act now on the illegal use of firearms across our country. The bipartisan coalition is co-chaired by New York City Michael Bloomberg and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino. Former Mayor Sam Adams was also a member.