Gun-rights advocates challenge firearm proceedings
Gun-rights proponents have filed a motion to intervene in the judicial review of a Columbia County ordinance prohibiting enforcement of most firearm laws.
Chris Brumbles, the chief petitioner of the two ballot measures that are now under review, filed the motion on Monday through his attorney, Tyler Smith.
Smith wrote that Brumbles and the other gun rights proponents "object to the tactics used by the County to bring this matter to this Court," and claimed that the county "seeks to undermine" the ordinances by filing the petition for judicial validation.
"To be clear, the County is not seeking to invalidate the Ordinance, only to get answers to the many legal questions raised by it," county counsel Sarah Hanson stated in a May 25 press release.
The county ordinance adopted earlier this year combined two ballot measures that had been approved by Columbia County voters in 2020 and 2018 elections.
The 2020 measure, called the Second Amendment Sanctuary Ordinance, prohibits the county from using any resources, including the Columbia County Sheriff's Office, to enforce most laws regulating firearms.
The 2018 measure, the Second Amendment Preservation Ordinance, affirms that Columbia County residents have the right to buy, sell, make, keep and bear firearms and ammunition.
Similar measures to those two have been approved by voters in several other predominantly rural Oregon counties in recent years.
Smith, the attorney, argued that Columbia County filing a petition for judicial validation was in and of itself a violation of the voter-approved 2020 ordinance.
"The Board's petition violates this prohibition, by using county resources to seek this Court's permission to enforce gun control laws," Smith wrote.
State law allows for governmental bodies to request judicial review of government action under some circumstances, essentially preempting any lawsuit that could arise from the action.
A decision from Columbia County Circuit Court Judge Ted Grove "will provide the Sheriff and District Attorney with certainty as to what can and cannot be prosecuted. It will also safeguard the County in the event other legal matters, like lawsuits, are raised against the Ordinance in the future," the county's press release explained.
Government bodies can and do request judicial review regardless of whether elected leaders support the action in question.
In Multnomah County, the board of commissioners filed a petition for judicial validation after voters approved a campaign finance reform measure in 2017. The board later filed an argument in support of the measure.
Columbia County's board of commissioners haven't filed an argument in support or against the firearm ordinance, as of Thursday, May 27.
"This proceeding will also inform residents of the County what firearm laws do apply to them so that no one is unwittingly found to violate a federal or state firearm law that they believe doesn't apply because of the initiative measures," Hanson said in the press release. "We don't think anyone would want that result."
The motion to intervene was filed on behalf of Brumbles; Keith Forsythe, owner of a local metal products manufacturer; Larry Ericksen, a Port of Columbia County commissioner; Ruth Nelson; Gun Owners of America, Inc; and the Oregon Firearms Federation.
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