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Lane County Oregon (courtesy

The Board of Commissioners of Lane County, Oregon, decided this week that it will not be enforcing the Beaver State’s new background check law. The law effectively bars private sales of firearms by requiring all such transactions to take place through a gun dealer. The Lane County Commissioners voted 4-1 in favor of a resolution that affirmed their support of the right to bear arms, “and opposition to what they call an unfunded mandate created by Senate Bill 941.” And that’s where they found the legal ground to reject “universal background checks” . . .

Section 15(3) of Oregon’s Constitution exempts local governments from complying with an unfunded mandate from the legislature if (among other things) the money to carry out the mandate in question “exceeds one-hundredth of one percent of the annual budget adopted by the governing body of the local government for that fiscal year.”

In this case, 0.01% of the annual budget for Lane County would be $60,000. Alex Cuyler, the Lane County government and legislative affairs manager, notes that the cost of enforcing SB 941 is “probably very close” to the $60,000 amount. “It’s a borderline call.”

The Register-Guard details the law’s fiscally burden.

At the local level, enforcing the law would involve, for example, responding to complaints that individuals had failed to obtain the background checks, or charging someone who, in the course of a county investigation into other violations, was found to have bought a weapon without the background check….

Lane County Sheriff Byron Trapp…agreed that SB 941 puts an extra burden on the…Sheriff’s Office.

The county would bear the burden of tracking down anyone suspected of a private gun sale without a background check.

“Mostly what the law does is affect law-abiding, legal gun owners,” Trapp said.


The Commissioners have decided that the sheriff is not going to investigate reports of background check violations. Reuters reports that activists opposed to Americans’ right to keep and bear arms are incensed by Lane County’s act.

“Do they mean to tell me the sheriff won’t prosecute the person who provided a murderer, illegally, with a gun?” Okamoto said.

If someone transferred a firearm to someone illegally because that person was prohibited from owning a firearm by federal or state law, that would not actually be the same offense as simply failing to run a background check on transferring a six-shot .22LR revolver to your grandmother, whose only exposure to the criminal justice system was a parking ticket back in ’65.

So Lane County residents needn’t lose much sleep over Ms. Okamoto’s sophistry. I’ve said it before: if the anti-gun crowd didn’t have bad arguments, they wouldn’t have any arguments at all.

DISCLAIMER: The above is an opinion piece; it is not legal advice, nor does it create an attorney-client relationship in any sense. If you need legal advice in any matter, you are strongly urged to hire and consult your own counsel. This post is entirely my own, and does not represent the positions, opinions, or strategies of my firm or clients.

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  1. Interesting. Wonder if something like that would work in Washington State ? Gotta love the folks that get all these laws passed with no way to fund the enforcement afterwards. Similar issue here with classroom size limits. No funding to more teachers.

    • I think at the time it passed, several LE organizations in WA said they either would not enforce or were not able to understand how to enforce it. Clark County and the WA State Patrol come to mind, but no time for Google right now.

      • They don’t need to enforce it, they just need to put the fear of enforcement into play. How? That’s easy. Just a few well publicized sting operations with the prosecutor fighting for the maximum sentence ought to do it. Laws like these should be burned in a nuclear reactor….

  2. Heh! Civil Disobedience! By County Officials, and the local Sheriff.

    I hope it spreads far and wide.

    • It has. Just check out our open borders that are supposed to be secure. Ignoring/violating/refusing to follow or enforce laws is what our current ,gov admin is all about.

      We don’t need civil disobedience, we need to get rid of unconstitutional laws.

      • That’s not civil disobedience, it’s not upholding the Oath of Office, by many members of Congress, of both parties, and the POTUS.

        Aka, dereliction of duty to this Nation to Protect and Defend, and uphold the Constitution.

        Those in Oregon are giving a middle finger to those that choose to not uphold their Oath.


    • Three friends and I cheerfully violated Washington State’s I-594 on Friday. We’ve known each other for 25 yrs. and we all have current CPLs. We shared our pistols and ARs with each other and sky didn’t fall. No children were hurt either. Looking forward to breaking the law again soon. I didn’t know behaving as a felon could be so much fun!

      • As a CA resident, and knowingly breaking a few laws my self, welcome to the club. Also, probably falling foul of other laws, but its so hard to keep up with the BS train that comes out of Sacramento. I honestly don’t know if I am a felon or not, but am assured that if I am, all of my friends, family and neighbors are too.

        What can you do?

  3. This is a law that was never meant to be enforced. It only hurts law abiding citizens. I have sold guns to my long time shooting buddy for a number of years. We both have CCW permits. What a waste of money, and time.
    Kate brown should go stick her head in a pile of “brown”
    It is so easy to get around this law anyway, if you want to sell, or buy a gun from someone you know. A predated sales contract is all it takes.
    It’s too bad Komifornia is trying to rub off some of it’s crap to it’s northern neighbor.

    • the yuppies and hipsters are fleeing urban areas because the social policies they voted in are enabling state sponsored crime waves. IE: Ganstas on welfare selling meth/dope having turf wars with the Gansta next door.

      you guys should really have a voting check station, anyone seeking entrance into the state be giving a sample ballot to fill out. If they fill out the same failing liberal policies that are crippling CA, then they should get turned around like a illegal pear at the Fruit Nazi stations we operate in CA.

      A vote for Nancy Pelosi or Dianne Fienstien should get your car impounded for a week at LEAST.

  4. I like the way that the BOCs roll.
    Still some semblance of America left in this country.

  5. More law-and-order fetishism on both sides.

    Ms. Okamoto expresses shock that people have the gall to disobey laws they consider unjust. Oh, the humanity.

    The sheriff only argues for the 2A rights of people who haven’t slipped into the legal dragnet that creates felons of us all, but gives the government the power of discretion to prosecute only those who get uppity.

    Time to reframe the debate: right to bear arms is a natural right, not just for people who obey the government.

  6. Yet more law-and-order fetishism on both sides.

    Ms. Okamoto expresses shock that people have the gall to disobey laws they consider unjust. Oh, the humanity.

    The sheriff only argues for the 2A rights of people who haven’t slipped into the legal dragnet that creates felons of us all, but gives the government the power of discretion to prosecute only those who get uppity.

    Time to reframe the debate: right to bear arms is a natural right, not just for people who obey the government.

  7. So did the county to the south (Douglas County) lead by very conservative county supervisors and an elected Sheriff who testified against the bill when it was in committee. The Sheriff here says they will never make an arrest for this state law. Period.

    I know. I live here.

      • Yup.
        And the most ironic part of this whole thing?
        The legislator who wrote and sponsored the original bill, is “Pink” Floyd Prozanski, of The city of Eugene, Lane County.

        • You just made my day! that’s rich source of (whatever schadenfreude is made from) right there.

    • Yeah, Eugene is the hippie capitol of the world, I think… this is a bit surprising coming out of there!

  8. Seems a bit of noncompliance is on the right and left coasts of this country. A 2/3 non compliance rate in NY’s Safe Act, same or higher in CT. I’m sure Eastern OR and WA will not comply either.

    About time. Let them enforce these unconstitutional laws. They haven’t yet because they’re scared.

    I hope the Pepto runs strong amongst these Progressive clowns, when We The People, choose not to comply.

  9. It occurs to me now, too late, that the way the universal background check law should have been written would be as a back-up law to use against someone who misused a firearm to attack someone — and only then. So long as a person uses a firearm lawfully, it shouldn’t matter whether they bought it, won it in a raffle, borrowed it from a friend, shared it with a sister, or whatever.
    In other words, the law should have been written to apply to criminals, and not even tio all criminals, only to those who utilize weapons to violate the self-ownership of others.

  10. As I read the article a second time, it struck me that local governments can avoid action if it comes as an unfunded mandate — but citizens cannot.

    This is irrational: the powers and authority of government comes from the citizens. Government cannot have the authority to do something no citizen is allowed to do. So if local government can ignore something as an unfunded mandate, then every single citizen has the right to do the same.

    Hence, background checks should be free, along with concealed licenses/permits — or we should all be able to skip doing them because they are unfunded mandates.

    • I like your line of reasoning. If my math is right LC budget is $600M (600M*.0001=$60k). So if you made $50k a year any mandate that cost you more than $5 (.01% of your $50k) to comply with would be a no go. WIN!

  11. The same social justice types who cheered on civil rights-based peaceful civil disobedience in the 60’s will now call for these people to be arrested, shot, and oppressed.

    The modern “liberal.”

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