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Photo Credit: COURTNEY VAUGHN - Chris Brumbles (left) and Ray Biggs address Columbia County commissioners Wednesday, Feb. 18. About 20 people urged the county commissioners to 'uphold the constitution' and not support expanded gun regulations.


On the same morning that students at Scappoose schools were sent home early due to the threat of a school shooting, pro-gun advocates filled the seats during a Columbia County Board of Commissioners meeting to advocate for relaxed enforcement of gun laws.

Advocates asked the board to consider a Second Amendment Preservation ordinance. The ordinance stipulates, among other things, that commissioners will not enforce regulations for owning semi-automatic firearms, restrictions on magazine or clip capacity, or further background check requirements, beyond those in place prior to late 2012.

About 20 people, identified as the Second Amendment Preservation Committee, showed up to Wednesday’s regular commission meeting.

The matter wasn’t scheduled as a public hearing, but after being pressed to allow public testimony, the board allowed several people to speak. Some were part of Oregon Oath Keepers and others were women who suggested the country has lost sight of the protections and purpose of the Second Amendment. One speaker reminisced about his youth, speaking fondly of the day when every young man carried a weapon.

Chris Brumbles, Columbia County coordinator for Oregon Oath Keepers, said many counties in Oregon have already adopted the proposed ordinance.

“The ordinance is top priority for us,” Brumbles said by phone after the meeting.

Columbia City resident and St. Helens School District board member Ray Biggs also addressed the commission, speaking in favor of the ordinance and resolution. In the past, Biggs has been a vocal and, at times, controversial advocate for less gun regulation. In 2013, Biggs was instrumental in getting the St. Helens School Board to allow district teachers and staff to bring concealed weapons to school.

Commissioner Earl Fisher emphatically addressed the speakers’ proposed ordinance and resolution, but by the time he gave his comments, most of the audience had already cleared the room.

Photo Credit: COURTNEY VAUGHN - FISHER

Fisher touched on the disparity of concerns the commission fields from residents, pointing out the people who want less regulation of firearms despite the estimated 33,000 people killed by guns last year, and those who want more regulation of trains carrying crude oil, despite the small number of oil train-related deadly incidents.

“When people come in here and tell me to remember my Constitution and remember my oath, I want you to know I do, and I hope you do, too,” Fisher said. “And I hope you read the whole thing, not [just] the part that you like. ... This is not a free-will document. It’s determined by laws. That’s what makes our civilization work.”

Fisher said most of the issues brought before them that morning by the Second Amendment committee are beyond the commissioners’ authority.

“I have no control over gun legislation,” he reminded the few remaining citizens in the room. “We have real people with real problems in this county and our job is try to solve those real problems.”

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