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article imageOne Oregon county votes to defy state and federal gun laws

By Karen Graham     Nov 10, 2015 in Politics
Coquille - On November 3, voters in Coos County, Oregon approved a controversial measure that gives the county sheriff discretion in ignoring any gun laws he decides are unconstitutional, but is it legal?
Even before a gunman killed nine people and injured nine more at Oregon's Umpqua Community College, about 60 miles east of the County on October 1, residents of Coos County were discussing putting a measure on the ballot in November that would forbid the expenditure of county funds to finance extended state background checks for people purchasing guns.
Like most residents in rural Oregon, people take their right to bear arms very seriously and don't like their right being infringed upon. The discussion over gun ownership became more heated as the debates grew after the mass shooting at the community college, making any fence-sitters join the majority.
The "Second Amendment Preservation Ordinance," was approved by over 60 percent of the registered voters. The text of the measure declares null and void "any regulation of the right to keep and bear arms.” It also empowers the county sheriff to decide whether any regulation, be it local, state, or federal, that infringes unconstitutionally on the right of citizens to be armed, is to be ignored.
Rob Taylor, a retired optician and the sponsor of the measure, told the Daily Signal they're hoping for a court challenge, reports Fox News. "One of the reasons we enacted this measure is that we wanted to challenge [the state's] background check law through the judicial process," he said.
While many people may question the legality of any local jurisdiction being able to decide what's constitutional, the measure itself calls for a $2,000 fine if someone violates it. And this same thing has been done in Wheeler and Wallowa counties, and the only difference is that Coos County has their measure outlined in great detail.
But one issue stands out in the Coos County measure. The new law forbids the expenditure of county funds or other resources on upholding Oregon’s recently reinforced background checks for anyone attempting to purchase a firearm. The new law does specify that state gun laws enacted before 2012 are to be enforced, but not the stricter ones.
What many voters in Oregon, and around the country have come to realize is that of all our fundamental rights, the right to keep and bear arms is always under assault. Perhaps this is because those who would rob us of this liberty understand this is the one thing that is the key to our protection and enjoyment of that liberty.
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