By Rob Taylor —
Soon the state legislature will be in session, and every person who owns a firearm will be in the sights of its members because they are beaming with new ideas in ways to disarm the citizens of Oregon.
In 2015, the voters of Coos County overwhelmingly enacted the Second Amendment Preservation Ordinance, which made national news and brought a great deal of attention to the issue.
Since then eighteen other counties in Oregon had Chief Petitioners file a SAPO as an initiative in their county, and these people deserve gratitude for allowing themselves to become vulnerable to public scrutiny and taking on this controversial challenge. It is not an easy job to approach your fellow citizen and ask them for their information.
The county clerk for five of those Oregon counties rejected the SAPO initiative for circulation, two counties have those petitions still circulating, and the majority of voters in eight of those counties enacted the SAPO initiative in this past election.
Unfortunately, the voters of two Oregon counties rejected the SAPO at the ballot box essentially rejecting their own Second Amendment rights. A citizen in another county decided to challenge the law in court, and they won the case against the ordinance.
The challenge will not affect the enforcement of the SAPO in other counties.
As a way to counter any future court cases, The Committee to Preserve the Second Amendment has drafted a new measure the Second Amendment Sanctuary Ordinance. Our attorneys believe it to be a much stronger statute and we plan to encourage citizens from every Oregon County to file the SASO as a new initiative for 2019.
A chief petitioner has already filed in Coos County. It is the first county in OR to have this new ordinance filed as an initiative. Josephine County passed a similar law bya vote of their commissioners this past year, so they are the first official Second Amendment Sanctuary County in the state. Our goal is to turn every county into a sanctuary for gun owners, and we plan to do it “one county at a time.”
Why should counties with a Second Amendment Preservation Ordinance replace it with the Second Amendment Sanctuary Ordinance?
Even though some legal experts agree it is a good law, there is a chance the courts could strike down the Second Amendment Preservation Ordinance or (SAPO) because it authorizes the sheriff to determine whether a state or federal law violates an individual’s right to keep and bear arms. The county sheriff has a great deal of discretionary authority, andthey have to choose every day which law they will and will not enforce for many different reasons, mostly budgetary.
The SAPO may go too far in conflating two branches of government. The judicial branch of government is the one authorized to determinethe constitutionality of the law while sheriffs are part of the executive branch of government, which enforces the law. It goes to the separation of powers.
Moreover, if the county sheriff does not believe in the rights ratified in the Second Amendment they can choose to go ahead and enforce federal and state firearm laws even though their county might have enacted a SAPO.
The new measure, the SASO, eliminates the sheriff’s role as a determining factor, and it utilizes the anti-commandeering doctrine, which President James Madison writes about in Federalist paper #46. The practice protects cities and counties from having to use their resources to uphold or cooperate with state and federal laws they find immoral or objectionable.
The SASO imposes a directive on the county government not to aid, assist or dedicate any funds or personnel to uphold any state or federal laws concerning firearms or firearms accessories. It is the same defense used by sanctuary cities to protect illegal aliens from federal enforcement, and even the wording is very similar.
Any court that rules against the SASO on the basis a city or county cannot determine where their local government will spend their tax dollars would be ruling against enactments that establish sanctuaries for people who have violated federal immigration law because both of them utilize the same legal principle.
The SASO has some limitations in its enforcement, as do most laws.
It does not protect felons in possession of a firearm. It does not allow people to carry guns in government buildings. It does not stop state or federal agents from coming into the county to enforce laws regardingfirearms or firearm accessories. It does not preventthe police in the cities from enforcing these laws unless that municipality has passed a SASO of their own. It does not keep private or retail sellers of firearms from running a background check, which all goes to show that even sanctuaries cannot escape the overreach of government.
The SASO is not a silver bullet against all rules and regulations that violate the tenet of infringement.
However, the SASO will prevent the sheriff and county officials from enforcing state and federal or any other extraterritorial laws concerning firearms and their accessories. It is a hedge against one level of local government, andit eliminatesthe highest law officer in the county and his deputies from participating in anyenforcement operation by the state to confiscate firearms from law-abiding citizens. It also sends a loud message echoing the phrase “shall not be infringed” to gun-grabbing legislators.
Anyone who would like to find out more info or to help us in our campaignshould surf to our website www.SanctuaryOrdinance.comwhere you can volunteer, sign up for our newsletter, or donate to the campaign. For all other inquires all interested parties can send an email to [email protected].
Rob Taylor is a local activist from Coos County who serves as Chair of the Committee to Preserve the Second Amendment.