Oregon County Blocks Officials From Enforcing Federal Gun Laws

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In a first of its kind case, residents of Columbia County in Oregon voted to forbid local officials from enforcing federal and state gun laws, including background check requirements and gun restrictions, reports the Associated Press. The county is one of many that have recently declared themselves a “Second Amendment sanctuary,” a movement that began around 2018 following mass shootings that prompted the conversation around stricter gun control laws. Under a provision in Oregon law, the judge of the case is able to examine the measure before it goes into effect and the measure has so far not faced any legal challenge. The measure is important in determining whether counties can decide to not enforce state and federal laws.

The Oregon Firearms Federation threw its support behind the measure in a November statement, stating that “extremists” were attempting to take away their gun rights and citing protests that turned violent last summer. Everytown Law, an affiliate of Everytown for Gun Safety, opposes the measure, stating it violates the U.S. Constitution, because federal law supersedes state law. A 2009 Montana measure attempting to exempt guns manufactured in the state from federal law did not hold up in court, as well as a similar measure in Kansas, however, Darrell Miller, a law professor at Duke, said gun rights advocates may have a successful argument under the anti-commandeering doctrine, which prohibits federal government from making states enforce federal law.

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