(2ANews) – An Oregon court dealt a blow Wednesday to the state’s “second amendment sanctuary” movement, ruling that local governments cannot ban police from enforcing certain gun laws. The decision could have national ramifications for anti-gun control efforts.
At the center of the lawsuit was a 2020 measure passed in Columbia County, a conservative area in the Democratic state, forbidding state and federal gun laws from applying in the county and banning local officials from enforcing the regulations. Columbia was among some 1,200 U.S. counties, from Virginia to New Mexico to Florida, that had passed similar second amendment sanctuary resolutions.
The Oregon state court of appeals ruled the ordinance, which included fines for officials who enforced most federal and state gun laws, violated state law granting the authority to regulate firearms. The decision noted the ordinance would create a “patchwork quilt” of firearms laws in Oregon, leading to “uncertainty for firearms owners concerning the legality of their conduct as they travel from county to county.”
The gun sanctuary movement, which began nationwide in 2018, had not yet faced a major legal challenge. The ruling could affect multiple localities in Oregon that had declared themselves second amendment sanctuaries. The state attorney general has sued two other counties that declared themselves sanctuaries; one of those counties later rescinded its ordinance.
“Today’s opinion by the court of appeals makes it clear that common sense requirements like safe storage and background checks apply throughout Oregon,” Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum said. “Hopefully, other counties with similar measures on the books will see the writing on the wall.”
Gun safety groups, some of which argued the ordinance violated the U.S. Constitution, applauded the decision. Eric Tirschwell, executive director of Everytown Law, called the court’s decision “a win for public safety and the rule of law.”
“Opponents of gun safety laws have every right to advocate for change at the ballot box, statehouse, or Congress, but claiming to nullify them at the local level is both unconstitutional and dangerous,” Tirschwell said.
The Oregon Firearms Federation, a supporter of the Columbia County ordinance, criticized the ruling, saying it included “false attacks” and “calls into question the legitimacy of the court and the likelihood of getting fair rulings from it.”