First it was Effingham County, Illinois declaring that they won’t be enforcing any unconstitutional gun control laws the famously hoplophobic Illinois legislature may enact. Now a county in Oregon is trying to to join the Second Amendment sanctuary movement.
Some residents of an Oregon county are asking voters to support a proposed ballot measure that would bar local officials from enforcing any gun control law and uphold gun rights outlined in the Constitution.
The proposed Second Amendment Preservation Ordinance was filed with the Deschutes County clerk last week. It would empower the county sheriff to review federal, state and local laws and determine whether they violate the U.S. or Oregon constitutions.
Similar to Effingham’s relationship to Chicago, the picture postcard central Oregon county includes the town of Bend. Deschutes County is about 150 miles away from the state’s population center of Portland and light years removed in attitude and politics.
The county’s residents aren’t happy about Initiative Petition 43, which would put an “assault weapon” ban and magazine capacity limit up to a vote of the people.
Deschutes County Sheriff Shane Nelson publicly opposed the proposal this month, saying Oregon already has laws on background checks and age restrictions. He noted that among those prohibited from buying a gun are convicted felons, those convicted of misdemeanor crimes involving violence, and those found to be mentally ill.
“I support and defend the Second Amendment and oppose IP 43,” Nelson wrote on the sheriff’s office Facebook page.
He said he believes every law-abiding citizen who wants to legally own a firearm should do so.
Like Effingham County’s sheriff, Shane Nelson hasn’t gotten behind the Deschutes effort yet, no doubt because it could put him in a difficult legal position in refusing to enforce a state law.
Nelson said that while he supports “the spirit of the ordinance,” he doesn’t support enacting it.
Deschutes County tends to be conservative, with most rural voters having voted for Donald Trump in the 2016 election. However, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton led voting in Bend, the county seat that has drawn many Californians and is a craft-brewing and outdoor recreation mecca.