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Judge To Determine Whether Police Can Ignore Gun Laws In Firearm-Sanctuary County

Salem, OR – Columbia County has asked a state court judge to examine the county’s Second Amendment sanctuary law before it goes into effect.

“This will allow the court to tell us whether the county can actually decline to enforce certain state laws, and it will tell us how to abide by the will of the voters to the extent that we can,” attorney Sarah Hanson explained during an interview with the Associated Press.

The case will be the first test of whether or not local governments can legally prohibit law enforcement officers from enforcing most state and federal firearms laws, the Associated Press reported.

Violation of Columbia County’s sanctuary ordinance, which was narrowly passed by voters in 2020, could also result in thousands of dollars in fines.

The court has not yet scheduled a hearing on the matter, the Associated Press reported.

The measure was put into place amid concerns regarding “big city radicals” and “extremists” who were attempting to do away with citizens’ gun rights, Oregon Firearms Federation said in November, according to the Associated Press.

The gun rights group pointed to the anti-police riots in Portland and the months of destruction that has destroyed swaths of the city’s once-vibrant downtown area.

They said the “common sense” firearms sanctuary ordinance is a way to ensure citizens’ “right and ability” to defend their lives and the lives of their loved ones, the Associated Press reported.

Columbia County Sheriff Brian Pixley said in March that he supports the measure and is eager to “move forward with the will of the voters,” according to the Associated Press.

But at least four residents have filed court documents voicing their opposition to the ordinance, especially with regards to secure storage and background checks.

“We need to make sure that people are safe. We need to make sure that people are responsible,” an unnamed Columbia County gun shop owner told the Associated Press. “But as more rules are in place, we just need to make sure that we’re not overregulated.”

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

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Written by Holly Matkin

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