Oregon attorney general sues two counties over gun ordinance
SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Oregon’s attorney general filed lawsuits Friday against two counties that had adopted ordinances that sought to nullify new statewide gun safety laws and declaring themselves “Second Amendment Sanctuaries.”
In her lawsuits against Yamhill and Harney counties, Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum asked the circuit courts in those jurisdictions to declare the ordinances “invalid and void” because they conflict “with paramount state law.”
“Gun safety laws exist to help keep guns out of dangerous hands and keep people safe. A county commission simply doesn’t get to override state law in this way,” Rosenblum said.
The ordinances, passed by county commissioners in the two counties earlier this year, did not apply to local, federal or state firearms regulations that were in effect as of last February. But they did encompass a bill passed by the Legislature and signed by the governor on June 1 that mandates the safe storage of guns and bans them from the Oregon State Capitol and Portland International Airport.
The new law, that went into effect on Sept. 24, also allows public school districts, community colleges and universities to set their own policy banning guns.
Yamhill County Counsel Christian Boenisch had warned the county commissioners that their ordinance might pre-empt state gun laws, which state law prohibits, the McMinnville News-Register reported.
The two Yamhill County commissioners who voted for the ordinance argued at the time that no county’s Second Amendment ordinance had yet been challenged in court.
That changed on Friday.
Rosenblum noted that other Oregon counties have enacted similar “illegal ordinances” and warned that the lawsuits filed on Friday are sending them the message that further action could be taken.