Voters in 10 Oregon counties have the opportunity to create gun sanctuary counties on Nov. 6.
Second Amendment Preservation Ordinances on the ballot in these 10 counties would require the sheriff to determine whether federal, state and local laws and regulations relating to firearms, firearms accessories or ammunition violate the U.S. or Oregon constitutions. Any law or regulation the sheriff deemed unconstitutional would be unenforceable in the county. Once deemed unconstitutional, the ordinances would prohibit the counties from authorizing the use of funds, resources, employees, agencies, contractors, buildings, detention centers or offices for the purpose of enforcing such laws.
The following counties will have a proposed Second Amendment Preservation Ordinance on the ballot.
- Baker———- Measure 1-84
- Columbia—– Measure 5-270
- Douglas—— Measure 10-165
- Jackson—— Measure 15-181
- Klamath—— Measure 18-110
- Lake———– Measure 19-32
- Linn———– Measure 22-174
- Lincoln——- Measure 21-189
- Umatilla—— Measure 30-128
- Union———- Measure 31-96
Rob Taylor is an Oregon activist who was instrumental in spearheading the movement to get these ordinances on the ballot. He said the language may differ from county to county, but the effect would be essentially the same. “The sheriff makes the determination on the constitutionality of laws concerning firearms and firearms accessories. Then he can decide whether or not to enforce them,” Taylor said.
Taylor said he wants to see every county in the state adopt similar ordinances
“Every time that I file an initiative, there are these feelings of excitement and anticipation, a readiness, an eagerness to begin the campaign. It is so empowering to live in a country where the founders had such foresight to create a process that any individual can use to redress their grievances against the government machine,” he said. “Politics can be a prelude to war or a solution to an overwhelming conflict. The initiative process is a check on unfettered authority and another way to defeat those who would take away individual rights without the people resorting to real weaponry on real battlefields. However, we will wield these initiative petitions like weapons against the state and federal governments that are intent on taking away our right to bear arms. They will receive no cooperation. The Second Amendment Sanctuary Ordinance will be our hammer to pound against opponents and a shield to protect supporters until we have created a sanctuary for all law-abiding gun owners in every county of Oregon.”
According to Taylor, sheriffs in eight of the 10 counties publicly support the Second Amendment Preservation Ordinance. Only one has publicly opposed the measure. Lincoln County Sheriff Curtis Landers signed onto a statement of opposition that was littered with fallacies, including an invocation of the federal supremacy clause.
Second Amendment Preservation Ordinances rest on a well-established legal principle known as the anti-commandeering doctrine. Simply put, the federal government cannot force states to help implement or enforce any federal act or program — that includes enforcing federal firearms laws. The anti-commandeering doctrine is based primarily on five Supreme Court cases dating back to 1842. Printz v. U.S. serves as the cornerstone.
“We held in New York that Congress cannot compel the States to enact or enforce a federal regulatory program. Today we hold that Congress cannot circumvent that prohibition by conscripting the States’ officers directly. The Federal Government may neither issue directives requiring the States to address particular problems, nor command the States’ officers, or those of their political subdivisions, to administer or enforce a federal regulatory program. It matters not whether policy making is involved, and no case by case weighing of the burdens or benefits is necessary; such commands are fundamentally incompatible with our constitutional system of dual sovereignty.”
The federal government relies heavily on state cooperation to implement and enforce almost all of its laws, regulations and acts – including gun control. By simply withdrawing this necessary cooperation, states and localities can nullify in effect many federal actions. As noted by the National Governor’s Association during the partial government shutdown of 2013, “states are partners with the federal government on most federal programs.”
Based on James Madison’s advice for states and individuals in Federalist #46, a “refusal to cooperate with officers of the Union” represents an extremely effective method to bring down federal gun control measures because most enforcement actions rely on help, support and leadership from state and local governments.
Fox News senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano agreed. In a televised discussion on the issue, he noted that a single state taking this step would make federal gun laws “nearly impossible” to enforce.
“Partnerships don’t work too well when half the team quits,” said Michael Boldin of the Tenth Amendment Center. “By withdrawing all resources and participation in federal gun control, states and even local governments can help bring these unconstitutional act to their much-needed end.”
Some gun rights supporters argue that such a measure is “unnecessary” because it addresses a nonexistent problem with a Republican Congress and an NRA-backed president. In fact, the Trump administration actually ramped up enforcement of federal gun laws in 2017.
Tenth Amendment Center
The Tenth Amendment Center is a national think tank that works to preserve and protect the principles of strictly limited government through information, education, and activism. The center serves as a forum for the study and exploration of state and individual sovereignty issues, focusing primarily on the decentralization of federal government power as required by the Constitution. For more information visit the Tenth Amendment Center Blog.