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Columbia County Tries to Weaken Sanctuary Ordinance
The 2nd Amendment initiative recently passed

The Columbia County Second Amendment Sanctuary Ordinance, recently adopted by the Columbia County Board of Commissioners is seen by many as an attempt to undermine the Sanctuary Ordinance initiative which was passed by the voters in November 2020.

Citizens of the county passed the “Second Amendment Preservation Ordinance” in 2018 and the “Second Amendment Sanctuary Ordinance” in 2020, and the county has now passed its own ordinance and the whole matter is in the hands of Circuit Court Judge Ted Grove for ‘Judicial Examination and Judgement of the Court as to the Regularity, Legality, Validity and Effect’ of the ordinance via a petition for validation of local government action.

Everytown For Gun Safety, a Bloomberg funded anti-gun-rights organization, has intervened in the case along with a New York law firm. While apparently Everytown knew this ordinance was going to be referred for review, and may have even requested the review, the chief petitioner for both initiatives, Chris Brumbles was never informed about this action. The county eliminated two Second Amendment ordinances passed by the people and created their own that stripped out important safeguards built into the ordinances. The Oregon Firearms Federation and Gun Owners of America have petitioned the court to intervene in the review. It may even be possible that the county commissioners actually violated the ordinance they were seeking to “review” just by demanding the review.

Under ORS 33.710, the Columbia County Circuit Court is authorized to conduct an examination of the ordinance and to provide a judgement as to the legality of the authority of a county governing body to enact the Second Amendment Sanctuary Ordinance.

Though the County claims they have filed the petition to clear up several important legal questions about what firearm regulations can be enforced in Columbia County, it is seen by many as an attempt by the County Commissioners to weaken -- and effectively eliminate -- the Sanctuary ordinances.

“To be clear, the County is not seeking to invalidate the Ordinance, only to get answers to the many legal questions raised by it,” County Counsel Sarah Hanson said. “As an example, Oregon law generally does not permit the County to regulate within the City limits without consent. We have asked the Court to inform us whether the cites have consented."

Hanson said this and many other questions arising from the two voter-passed initiatives and the Ordinance implementing them put the County and its residents in legal “limbo,” so the Ordinance has been put before the Court for answers. The statutory process will enable the County to get binding decisions from the Court which will allow the Ordinance to move forward in a form that is legal. It will provide the Sheriff and District Attorney with certainty as to what can and cannot be prosecuted.

“This proceeding will also inform residents of the County what firearm laws do apply to them so that no one is unwittingly found to violate a federal or state firearm law that they believe doesn’t apply because of the initiative measures,” Hanson said. “We don’t think anyone would want that result.”

The County expects a briefing schedule to be approved by the Court soon and hopes to have a hearing before the end of June, 2021.


--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-05-30 17:28:01Last Update: 2021-05-31 13:30:41



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