County to appeal dismissal of firearm validation proceedings
Columbia County is appealing Circuit Court Judge Ted Grove's dismissal of the county government's request for judicial review of a voter-approved ballot measure.
After county voters approved the second of two ballot measures aimed at preventing local enforcement of most firearms laws in 2020, the county filed a request for judicial validation, asking the Columbia County Circuit Court to review the ordinance to ensure it doesn't violate the federal or state constitution or other laws.
In July, Grove dismissed the county's case.
Grove wrote that the county's case didn't meet the standards of a "justiciable controversy," which is one of the requirements to conduct a judicial examination.
Grove dismissed the case for a lack of justiciability, before making it to any evaluation of the ballot measures and resulting ordinance.
The county filed a notice of intent to appeal on Aug. 20. In a press release, the county said it "filed the petition for validation to get clarity from the court about what firearm regulations can be enforced to avoid other costly litigation. Judge Grove refused to answer those questions."
The county will file a brief with the Oregon Court of Appeals, arguing that the case does meet the standards for a justiciable controversy.
The county had not filed any briefs for the appeal as of Aug. 30, and the county's lead attorney Sarah Hanson said she did not have a timeline for that filing.
It's unclear whether the appeal is backed by the entire Board of Commissioners, or who approved it.
Neither Hanson nor Columbia County Commissioner Margaret Magruder initially answered when asked if the county commissioners actually voted to appeal the decision. Magruder later said the appeal was filed following board instruction, but did not say when that decision was made.
Magruder said that the county "filed the original petition with the court to get clarity on the questions we posed."
She added, "We have filed the appeal to further this process."
Board agendas and minutes available as of Aug. 30 don't show any discussion about the legal proceedings since Grove issued his ruling.
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