Many wrongly assume that Oregon is a liberal state. Sure, it consistently votes Democrat, but that is due to the large population centers of Portland and Eugene. Much of rural Oregon is conservative and the recent vote that imbued a county sheriff with the awesome power of maintaining law and order illustrates that point.
Nearly a month after the horrendous shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon, a coastal community about an hour-and-a-half away has made it clear that they will not bow to political pressures and anti-Second Amendment hysteria.
Coos County, Oregon, residents easily passed the Second Amendment Preservation Ordinance on Tuesday with more than 60 percent voting in favor of the law. The ordinance prohibits the use of public funds for enforcing unconstitutional laws- a clear nod to the recent outrage in Salem where lawmakers rammed-through a universal background check provision that was passed without public scrutiny or public debate. The law makes it illegal to transfer a firearm privately without first obtaining a background check, an intrusive measure that serves as “permission” to exercise one’s “uninfringeable” right to bear arms.
The ordinance prohibits public employees from enforcing laws that have been deemed unconstitutional by the county sheriff. Already, several Oregon sheriffs have pledged to not enforce unconstitutional laws such as Oregon’s new universal background check provision- including Roseburg’s Sheriff John Hanlin.
The Coos County ordinance not only prohibits public employees from enforcing unconstitutional laws, but promises that public employees caught violating the ordinance could face up to a $2,000 fine.
Rob Taylor, a sponsor of the legislation, helped collect the necessary 2,000 signatures to place the ordinance on the ballot and Taylor claims that many residents were “thrilled” about the prospective legislation.
“We are a big gun ownership area. Coos County has the highest percentage of concealed carry licenses in the entire state,” Taylor stated. “They’re tired of having their rights eroded, and not just under the Second Amendment, all of their rights, so they were thrilled that somebody was trying to do something about it.”
The law is almost-certain to encounter legal challenges. Taylor claims that that was exactly the point.
“One of the reasons we enacted this measure is that we wanted to challenge [the state’s] background check law through the judicial process,” he said. “The problem is we’re just average citizens, we don’t have a lot of money so we can’t just take these challenges to court. Lawyers cost a lot of money and court fees cost a lot of money.”
“We’ve put it in the realm of being an actual ordinance so that one government entity will have to challenge another government entity without forcing individuals to have to pay for it by themselves.”
By placing this issue onto the ballot, any legal challenges will be a government-versus-government affair that will relieve common individual citizens of the burden of fronting the costs of a costly legal challenge. It’s actual fairly brilliant.
Many have noted that federal law trumps state law. However, in truth, the Second Amendment ordinance is an affirmation of federalism as the point of the ordinance is to enforce the Second Amendment- a federal law.
Few could argue that the Coos County ordinance is intended to usurp federal supremacy as the point of the ordinance to adhere to the law of the land- our Constitution.
At the very least, the passage of the law indicates a genuine anger and concern by gun owners who are witnessing the devastation of their rights amidst an atmosphere of hysteria and tyranny.
For the federal government that may take issue with the new patriotic Coos County law, the question becomes one of political realities. With such palpable anger and concern from Americans dedicated to the preservation of their constitutional rights, federal authorities should question to what length are they willing to combat the armed and constitutionally-minded populace.
Or, in short: “Come and take it.”