Ellen get your gun

Oregon's attorney general, Ellen Rosenblum, has taken some time off from thinking about running for govermor to file a lawsuit against a couple of Oregon's redneck "gun sanctuary" counties.

During the last legislative session, Oregon lawmakers required gun owners to securely store their weapons when not in use. The bill also banned the possession of guns in the state Capitol and at Portland International Airport and paved the way for public schools and universities to enact their own bans.

In response, Yamhill and Harney counties adopted new ordinances circumventing the state law.

Each county has declared itself a “Second Amendment Sanctuary,” in which the new state firearms laws are void. Their ordinances prohibit county officials from upholding the new state gun laws by imposing fines, criminal charges and even the possibility of civil suits for any enforcement action.

The Oregon Department of Justice lawsuit filed Friday asks the courts to void the local ordinances because state law declares counties don’t have the authority to regulate firearms.

If the blue counties can refuse to uphold federal immigration laws, the red county commissions say they can refuse to uphold state gun laws. The AG's lawsuit will settle the question whether the county politicians can do that – by ordinance. But of course, the county sheriffs can do that – as a practical matter, they decide what will and won't be enforced every day. 

The legal maneuvering from Salem is interesting, but it smells a little like the inside of an old theater.


  1. Except that states are sovereign and separate from the feds, and cases hold that the feds can’t compel states to enforce federal laws. Counties are not sovereign or separate from the state that creates them. States declining to enforce federal immigration laws is like your neighbors hosting BBQs even though you’re a vegetarian — perfectly OK. Counties claiming to nullify state laws is like your kids saying “you aren’t the boss of me and you can’t tell me what to do.”

    1. Well, the sheriffs ain't gonna enforce the state gun laws no matter what Mommy says.


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