After four Oregon counties adopted “Second Amendment Preservation” ordinances over the past 18 months, county governments in three additional counties are now reportedly considering similar legislation, according to KTVZ News.
Naturally, the Beaver State’s leading gun prohibition lobbying group doesn’t care for the idea and is ironically pointing to another law that it despises, the state preemption law, as preventing such ordinances. Anti-gunners dislike such statutes because they prevent gun control groups from lobbying local governments to adopt strict, sometimes contradictory laws that create a checkerboard effect that is confusing to people and might discourage gun ownership altogether.
Ceasefire Oregon Executive Director Penny Okamoto told the station, “There’s an Oregon firearms pre-emption law that states that counties, municipalities (and) cities actually can’t make certain laws regarding certain aspects of firearm sales, ownership (and) storage. So these ordinances or resolutions really are largely very symbolic.”
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When it comes to symbolism, the gun prohibition lobby might be the expert. In 2015, they pushed through the Oregon Firearms Safety Act, requiring so-called “universal background checks” for all firearm transfers. It was patterned after a citizen initiative passed the previous fall in neighboring Washington and it is not clear whether the law has prevented a single crime with a firearm. Criminals in both states still appear able to get their hands on guns.
The state’s preemption statute ORS 166.170 reads:
(1) Except as expressly authorized by state statute, the authority to regulate in any matter whatsoever the sale, acquisition, transfer, ownership, possession, storage, transportation or use of firearms or any element relating to firearms and components thereof, including ammunition, is vested solely in the Legislative Assembly.
(2) Except as expressly authorized by state statute, no county, city or other municipal corporation or district may enact civil or criminal ordinances, including but not limited to zoning ordinances, to regulate, restrict or prohibit the sale, acquisition, transfer, ownership, possession, storage, transportation or use of firearms or any element relating to firearms and components thereof, including ammunition. Ordinances that are contrary to this subsection are void.”
Proponents of the Second Amendment Preservation ordinances are using a strategy that may infuriate liberals. According to KTVZ, gun rights activists want the state to have “sanctuary counties” where gun regulations are not enforced. The story quoted Coos County resident Rob Taylor, who explained matter-of-factly that the proposal would be adopted “The same way Oregon has become a sanctuary state for immigration.”