(Columbia County, Oregon) – The Columbia County Second Amendment Sanctuary Ordinance, recently adopted by the Columbia County Board of Commissioners to implement the intent of the voters as demonstrated by the passage of the “Second Amendment Preservation Ordinance” in 2018 and the “Second Amendment Sanctuary Ordinance” in 2020, has now been passed to Judge Ted Grove for ‘Judicial Examination and Judgement of the Court as to the Regularity, Legality, Validity and Effect’ of the ordinance via a petition for validation of local government action.
Under ORS 33.710, the Columbia County Circuit Court is authorized to conduct an examination of the ordinance and to provide a judgement as to the legality of the authority of a county governing body to enact the Second Amendment Sanctuary Ordinance.
The County filed the petition to clear up several important legal questions about what firearm regulations can be enforced in Columbia County. Through this process, Judge Grove can provide clarity on the matter.
“To be clear, the County is not seeking to invalidate the Ordinance, only to get answers to the many legal questions raised by it,” County Counsel Sarah Hanson said. “As an example, Oregon law generally does not permit the County to regulate within the City limits without consent. We have asked the Court to inform us whether the cites have consented.
Hanson said this and many other questions arising from the two voter-passed initiatives and the Ordinance implementing them put the County and its residents in legal “limbo,” so the Ordinance has been put before the Court for answers. The statutory process will enable the County to get binding decisions from the Court which will allow the Ordinance to move forward in a form that is legal. It will provide the Sheriff and District Attorney with certainty as to what can and cannot be prosecuted. It will also safeguard the County in the event other legal matters, like lawsuits, are raised against the Ordinance in the future.
“This proceeding will also inform residents of the County what firearm laws do apply to them so that no one is unwittingly found to violate a federal or state firearm law that they believe doesn’t apply because of the initiative measures,” Hanson said. “We don’t think anyone would want that result.”
The County expects a briefing schedule to be approved by the Court soon and hopes to have a hearing before the end of June, 2021.