Oregon Attorney General Sues Yamhill and Harney Counties to Enforce New Gun Laws

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Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum sued two Oregon counties on Friday to stop their efforts to circumvent Oregon’s new gun laws.

In the last legislative session, Oregon lawmakers called on gun owners to safely store their guns when not in use. The bill also banned the possession of firearms on the State Capitol and at the Portland International Airport, and paved the way for public schools and universities to enact their own bans.

In response, Yamhill and Harney counties have passed new ordinances circumventing state law.

Every county has declared itself a “Second Amendment sanctuary,” in which the state’s new gun laws are void. Their ordinances prohibit county officials from enforcing the state’s new gun laws by imposing fines, criminal charges, and even the possibility of civil prosecution for any coercive action.

Sgt. Brandon White of the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office puts a cable lock on a drive Glock January 14, 2019 in Portland, Oregon. The sheriff’s office gives out gun locks for free to anyone who wants one.

Jonathan Levinson / OPB

The Oregon Department of Justice lawsuit filed Friday asks courts to overturn local ordinances because state law says counties do not have the power to regulate firearms.

Rosenblum is not happy that officials, who enforce state laws, can be prosecuted and subject to private prosecution, “gun safety laws exist to help keep guns out of dangerous hands and to keep guns safe. protect people. A county commission simply cannot override state law in this way, ”Rosenblum said in a written statement. “The laws of Oregon remain in full force – and fully enforceable – notwithstanding these invalid orders. No public servant should be afraid of doing their job well by the threat of illegitimate criminal charges or bogus prosecutions. “

Harney County Judge Pete Runnels, head of the county’s administrative branch, declined to comment on the state’s action.

Other counties in Oregon have issued similar ordinances. Rosenblum hopes suing Harney and Yamhill counties will block similar efforts elsewhere.

“These actions will hopefully send the message that we are ready to uphold the rule of law in our state,” she said.


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