The SASO Out of Court & Into the Campaign

It is truer today than when expressed by Sun Tzu almost 3000 years ago, “Wheels of justice grind slow but grind fine.”

There have been some new developments in the court case in Columbia County, which will further our objective of turning every Oregon County into a Second Amendment sanctuary for all law-abiding citizens.  

“One county at a time.” 

On January 07, 2019, Chris Brumbles, an average American citizen who was tired of government infringing on his Right to keep and bear arms, decided to file the Second Amendment Sanctuary Ordinance as an initiative where he lived in Columbia County.

A week later on January 14, 2019, The Clerk of Columbia County found that the SASO did not meet the conditions defined in the OR Constitution and decided that the CP could not file it as an initiative and rejected his submission. The clerk claimed that the measure did not have the full-text of the new law, it dealt with more than a single-subject, and it was administrative instead of legislative in its action.   

The clerk’s decision would not deter this determined Chief Petitioner, so with the help of the Committee to Preserve the Second Amendment and the support of Oregon Firearms Federation, Mr. Brumbles hired a very skilled attorney, Tyler Smith, who filed an appeal on the county clerk’s denial of the initiative.  

Unfortunately, on April 12, 2019, the courts were a little coarse in their judicial grinding of the SASO.  The judge presiding over the trail, Judge Grove, decided to deny the measure in Columbia County on the grounds it did not meet the “full-text” criteria for the filing of an initiative.  

Fortunately, the judge did not address the county’s claims that the SASO violated the single-subject rule and that the measure was administrative instead of legislative.  The county claimed it had a right to deny the initiative because the SASO violated conditions outlined in the OR Constitution for the initiative process and therefore it did not meet the standard. The county did not prove these two facts for this case at trial.   

The reason the judge found that the SASO did not have the “full-text” was due to the ambiguity of its wording, which was an easy fix for our attorney.  The word change was more about legal semantics than content, so it did nothing to change the intent of the law, and it keeps the primary directive with punishment in place.  

After the ruling, some of the commissioners in other parts of Oregon were using the outcome of this trial in Columbia County as an excuse why their board was not acting on the SASO in their county.  Even a few newspapers have published articles making incorrect assumptions on this decision.  The case was about whether the measure met the criteria for an initiative, not on the constitutionality of its content. 

The inaccuracies of the “fake-news” were so blatant our attorney for the Chief Petitioner had to write a letter correcting the story explaining that Judge Grove’s decision only covered the measure’s eligibility for filing by the CP as an initiative petition and had nothing to do with the constitutionality of the ordinance.  The courts cannot determine a measure’s constitutionality until it has become law.  

Once our attorney made the corrections to the wording, the CP in Columbia County filed the new version of the SASO on April 29, 2019.  Then on May 06, 2019, the clerk accepted this version of the SASO for circulation as an initiative petition, which was five months after rejecting the first filing of the original text.  

Unless there is an outside legal challenge, the citizens of Columbia County should celebrate and start preparing to gather the required signatures from all registered voters.  

Twenty in 2020

Columbia County joins Coos County as the first two counties in the campaign to put a SASO on the ballot in the general election of November 2020.  The CPSA helped put ten Second Amendment Preservation Ordinance measures on the ballot in 2018, and the goal is to double that number for SASO measures in 2020.  It would be quite an achievement for the citizens of twenty counties to put the SASO on the ballot in 2020 and the more, the merrier.   

The Board of Commissioners in Josephine County, under the instructions of their elected county attorney, Wally Hicks, voted for a Sanctuary County Designation ordinance back in April of 2018.  Harney County enacted a SASO last month, but both of these county laws have no penalties for government officials and law enforcement officers who violate the ordinance.  

The measures that counties have enacted in other states have been mere proclamations and symbolic resolutions, which do not have the same legal authority as an ordinance and it is meaningless without some form of punishment.  A Second Amendment Sanctuary Ordinance carries a sentence for the violation of a citizen’s Second Amendment Rights because we believe in the tenet of “shall not be infringed.”  

Please send an email to [email protected]if you would like to get involved in the SASO Campaign or if you have any questions or concerns.

Please LIKE & SHARE our Facebook page:

Rob Taylor is the Chair of the Committee to Preserve the Second Amendment and the Chief Petition for the SASO in Coos County