The Columbia County Board of Commissioners asked the court to review the Second Amendment Sanctuary Ordinance (SASO) and Second Amendment Preservation Ordinance (SAPO), which were adopted by the county’s commissioners. Then, Oregon attorney general and lawyers from Everytown for Gun Safety, a gun-control group, issued their own filings and argued the ordinances violated federal and state laws.
But Columbia County Judge Ted Grove ruled (pdf) this week that “while a governing body may seek review of an ordinance … judicial examination still requires a justiciable controversy.”
“Petitioners have not demonstrated such a controversy,” the judge added and said they “seek what amounts to an advisory opinion designed to invalidate their own newly passed ordinance.”
The judge’s decision didn’t address the legality of the measures, which bars Columbia County—located in the northwestern part of Oregon—from enforcing many state and federal gun-control laws.
According to the text (pdf) of the ordinance, it “preserves the right of any person to keep and bear arms as originally understood; in self-defense and preservation, and in defense of one’s community and country, and to freely manufacture, transfer, sell and buy firearms, firearm accessories and ammunition … and protects ancillary rights that are closely related to the right to keep and bear arms protected by the Second Amendment.”
Pro-Second Amendment groups hailed the decision, saying it has national implications.
The Oregon Firearms Federation wrote in a statement that “the Columbia County Court shot down ‘Everytown For Gun Safety,’ Mike Bloomberg’s New York Lawyers, and the usual gaggle of state worshippers and upheld the County’s 2nd Amendment Sanctuary ordinance, an ordinance the county commissioners hoped to torpedo.”
“This is a victory with national implications and a repudiation to the politics of division that Bloomberg and the gun grabbers are so famous for,” the statement added.
Sarah Hansen, a lawyer for the county, told the Columbia County Spotlight newspaper that it’s not clear if the county will try to appeal Grove’s ruling.
The ruling comes as a recent update on the website Sanctuary Counties revealed that more than 60 percent of all counties in the United States are “Second Amendment sanctuaries.”
“We have seen plenty of news about Constitutional Carry, which is another movement that we are actually quite supportive of,” the site said in a June update. “Yet the mainstream news has remained relatively silent regarding the massive Second Amendment Sanctuary movement, which leads us to a few questions.”