Oregon County’s Voters Just Negated State & Fed Gun Laws. Or Did They?
Russ Chastain 11.08.15
Coos County, OR – The voters in Coos County are unhappy with state and federal gun laws and have reportedly chosen to do something about it. It’s unclear whether the recent county ordinance will actually have teeth and whether it will ever be exercised.
The ballot measure came about in response to Oregon’s SB 941, which requires government “background checks” on gun transfers even between private individuals. County resident Rob Taylor began a petition for what’s been dubbed The United States Constitution Second Amendment Preservation Ordinance, got it on the ballot, and voters rewarded it with a 61 percent majority.
After some digging, I was able to find some details on the ordinance. Here they are:
Any law or regulation in violation of the US or Oregon Constitution pertaining to the right to bear arms to be deemed as unconstitutional and void; Prohibits the use of Coos County funds, facilities, and employees to enforce or punish any law, rule, or order that infringes upon the right to bear arms such as (not exclusive):
– Registration requirements for lawfully owned firearms
– Prohibitions as to “assault” type firearms
– Restrictions pertaining magazine capacity, clip capacity, or types of ammunition
– Background check requirements beyond those required in December 2012
– Restrictions prohibiting possession, carry, or transport of lawfully possessed firearms and ammunition
– Requires Sheriff to determine whether any law or regulation pertaining to the right to bear arms violates the US or Oregon Constitution
– Exempts current criminal laws pertaining to firearms from the ordinance
– Provides financial penalties for violations of the ordinance
One of the biggest problems I see is that it seems to empower one man, the county sheriff, with deciding what laws to follow. And while that makes some sense, a simple election could erase any potential benefit from this ordinance. All it takes it an anti-gun sheriff to say that all state and federal laws are Constitutional, and any protection this ordinance might provide evaporates.
It does serve to show, though, that many voters are fed up with overbearing state and federal laws restricting our gun rights, and that is always a good thing. And let’s remember, this is in a state in which Obama attempted to “politicize” a murder in order to steal more of our rights and was met with vocal resistance by local citizens.
County Commissioner Melissa Cribbins was quoted as saying, “My concern is that it will cost the county money. We’ll have to meet with legal counsel and determine if it is enforceable under the Constitution of the United States.”
Rob Taylor, the original petitioner, said, “My hope at some point is that someone that is able to take it to a court and challenge it to find whether it is constitutional or SB 941 is constitutional.”