Advocates see tough fight ahead for Oregon gun law changes (copy)


An ordinance that aimed to prevent the enforcement of most state and federal firearm regulations within Columbia County is void, the Oregon Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday, Feb. 15.

The "Second Amendment Sanctuary Ordinance" is preempted by state law and can't be enforced, the court found.

Columbia County voters approved measures in 2018 and 2020 that prohibited the enforcement of nearly all gun control laws.

The two measures were combined into one ordinance adopted by the Columbia County Commission. It states that “all local, state and federal acts, laws, rules or regulations, originating from jurisdictions outside of Columbia County, which restrict or affect an individual person’s general right to keep and bear arms, including firearms, firearm accessories or ammunition … shall be treated as if they are null, void and of no effect in Columbia County, Oregon.”

The court’s ruling, however, will force the county to follow all current state gun laws.

Ordinance found void

The appeals court, in a decision written by Judge Douglas Tookey, found that the ordinance was preempted by state law and therefore void.

The court determined the county's ordinance would effectively create “a patchwork quilt” of firearms laws across the state, rendering state laws ineffective.

The ordinance was legally void because of a state law that says that the power to regulate firearms “is vested solely in the Legislative Assembly,” aside from a few regulations explicitly permitted by state statute, the appeals court determined.

“Except as expressly authorized by state statute, no county, city or other municipal corporation or district may enact civil or criminal ordinances … to regulate, restrict or prohibit the sale, acquisition, transfer, ownership, possession, storage, transportation or use of firearms or any element relating to firearms and components thereof, including ammunition,” the law, ORS 166.170, also reads.

Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum described the Oregon Court of Appeals decision as “some good news” for gun safety in a tweet.

“Common-sense requirements like safe storage and background checks exist to protect all Oregonians,” Rosenblum wrote.

A spokesperson for Columbia County said Wednesday, Feb. 15, that the county commissioners were reviewing the decision and hoped to issue a statement by the end of the week.


The Second Amendment Preservation Ordinance was approved in 2018 with 54.9% of votes, followed by the Second Amendment Sanctuary Ordinance in 2020 with 50.9% of votes.

In 2021, Columbia County combined the two ordinances and filed a request for judicial examination with the circuit court.

Columbia County Circuit Court Judge Ted Grove dismissed the county’s case because he said the case did not meet the requirements for the judicial review process.

State law says governing bodies can request judicial review of an ordinance when there is a “justiciable controversy,” but Grove ruled the county had “not demonstrated such a controversy.”

Grove did not rule on the question the county wanted answered: whether or not the voter-approved ordinances are legally enforceable.

The county asked the appeals court to reverse Grove’s ruling on the “justiciability” issue and send the case back to the circuit court to reexamine.

Rosenblum and a group of Columbia County residents represented by local counsel and the gun control advocacy group Everytown Law both asked the appeals court to reverse Grove’s ruling and further rule that the ordinances were not legally enforceable.

'Disturbing implications'

Oregon Court of Appeals Judge James Egan wrote a concurring opinion.

In Egan’s opinion, he called attention to “the disturbing implications” made by Chris Brumbles, who led efforts for both of the anti-gun control measures and is the local coordinator for the Oath Keepers, through his attorney, Tyler Smith.

Smith’s arguments in front of the appeals court referenced alleged United Nations mandates to disarm Americans, which are “a well-documented trope meant to invoke white supremacist, antisemitic fear of a takeover of our country by outsiders and minorities who are manipulated by an elite class of supervillains,” Egan wrote.

“Both counsel’s argument concerning UN mandates and the Ordinance’s solution have their origins in the ideology of white supremacist nationalism which runs contrary to the tenets of our constitutional republic,” Egan wrote.

Sign up for our newsletter

Get the best independent source of news and analysis of Oregon state government delivered to your inbox twice a week.

(6) comments

Eli Dumitru

Thank you for drawing attention to Oregon Supreme Court Judge Egan's Rant against gun owners. Here's a bit more of what he thinks of Oregon's defenders of our Constitutional right:

"They also have their origins in the writings of the Aryan Nation, an antisemitic, white supremist group. The premise of such writings is the antisemitic and racist conspiracy theory that Jews are at the heart of America's problems, that people of color are unwitting pawns to be manipulated by one side or the other, and that zealots must prepare for a final battle in the last days."


"Intervenor's reference at oral argument about UN mandates in support of an absolute right to firearms threatens to give legal foundation to a world view that embraces religious, racial, and ethnic hatred."

This kind of radical bias has no place in our courts which are supposed to protect our Constitutional rights.


Ive been an anti-gun advocate my entire life. However, I think the Bill of Rights sacred to the "American Experiment". At 78 I bought my 1st gun 3 months ago before the new Oregon Law making a gun purchase and ownership so much more difficult. Under this new culture of lawlessness where our US Senator, Wyden, tells the FDA to ignore the Law, self protection may become essential for this 78 yr. old.


Congratulations to Judge Egan for his opinion regarding this case. He hit the nail on the head with his opinion and shot (no pun intended) down a white supremacist for what he is, a supremacist that does not reflect the views of Oregonians.

On the level

So as Judge James Egan, attempts to legislate from the bench, does this disqualify him from future gun cases since he has tipped his hand in favor of gun control?


"Judge" Eagan has once again proved his unfitness for the bench.

In a vicious, hateful opinion that was 95% politics, he branded anyone who disagrteed with the ill-comceived, problem-plagued Measure 114 as white supermacists and inheritors of the KKK.

It's not enough that Eagan ignores the US Supreme Court's rulings - he demoizes anyone who disagrees.

He does not belong on the bench.


Judge Douglas Tookey needs to be removed from the bench.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.