by Rob Taylor
If approved, this measure prevents the use of county resources to enforce certain restrictions on gun ownership. It would invalidate and void any law that violates provisions guaranteeing the right to bear arms in the U.S. Constitution and the Oregon Constitution.
Moreover, Measure 6-151 would prohibit the use of county funds or resources to enforce any law that impedes the right to bear arms, including, but not limited to, laws that establish:
- Registration requirements for legally owned firearms
- Prohibitions against “assault” type firearms
- Restrictions pertaining to magazine or clip capacity and ammunition type
- Background check requirements beyond those required as of December 2012
- Restrictions against possession, carry or transport of legally owned guns and ammunition
Measure 6-151 encourages the county sheriff to use existing discretionary authority to preclude any particular part of a law that violates the Second Amendment rights of the individual. The Sheriff already has the power to prioritize crimes according to the discretion of the office and the department already responds to calls based on the resources available. The Coos County Sheriff’s department will not respond to a litany of crimes due to funding.
The sheriff currently uses discretionary authority to downgrade good laws to low, or no priority levels, so why not have the sheriff use that same authority to relegate a bad law.
Approval of the measure is not retroactive against criminal laws regarding firearms, meaning it does not nullify any criminal laws previously established.
However, its passage would apply to defunding the enforcement of Oregon Senate Bill 941 at the local level. Additionally, the initiative would institute fines of $2,000 per violation for individuals and $4,000 per violation for corporations for any efforts to enforce laws, rules, or policies prohibited by Measure 6-151.
It would be good thing to have a law that imposes punitive damages against any individual or corporation violating anyone’s Second Amendment rights. All individual rights should have such a caveat.
Of course, criminals ignore the laws and enforcing prolonged background checks could, and has, prevented individuals from defending themselves from perpetrators committing the very crimes not enforced by an underfunded law enforcement agency, which might be the reason Coos County Sheriff, Craig Zanni, signed the petition.
Remember, the legislature in Salem passed SB941 and unnecessarily attached an “emergency clause” to it, so the people could not seek legal recourse through the filing of a public referendum. Challenging the state at the local level forces the issue to the courts, which can then determine the constitutionality of both laws. More importantly, maybe the representatives will learn the concerns of their constituents, so they can respond accordingly.
Support the right to bear arms by voting YES for the Second Amendment Ordinance, Measure 6-151. Sign-up at www.CoosCountyWatchdog.com to receive more information, or join the conversation on Facebook at www.facebook.com/cooscountysecondamendmentordinance.
Rob Taylor is the founder of Coos County Watchdog, which is a virtual network of local activist.