The Grant County Court took a stance on protecting gun rights by unanimously approving a Second Amendment preservation resolution at their April 24 meeting.

Unlike Second Amendment measures in other Oregon counties, the Grant County measure does not create civil penalties for businesses or officials that infringe on the right to bear arms.

Commissioner Jim Hamsher said the court chose to take the step as a resolution and not an ordinance because there may be some legal issues, and he’d rather see other counties bear the brunt of defending the language in court.

Hamsher said he wants everything the court does from now on to be capable of withstanding legal challenges in court. Ordinances that cannot withstand legal challenge don’t do anything for the county’s residents, he said.

He said he expects to see similar Second Amendment ordinances in Oregon to be challenged. If an ordinance is successfully challenged in court, a complex repeal process must take place, he said.

Commissioner Sam Palmer said Second Amendment preservation ordinances across Oregon were likely written so that if one is challenged, they’re all challenged.

The point of passing the resolution was to let the people of Grant County know that the court supports their Second Amendment rights, Hamsher said.

The four-page resolution recognizes the language of the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment and Oregon Constitution’s Article 1 Section 27, both of which recognize the right of citizens to keep and bear arms.

The resolution states that “the criminal misuse of firearms is due to criminals that do not obey laws and thus is not a reason to deny the Constitutional right to keep and bear arms by law-abiding citizens.”

Furthermore, “the Grant County Court recognizes that the first and last protectors of the United States Constitution are the people of the United States.”

The resolution cites U.S. Supreme Court rulings in District of Columbia v. Heller, which recognized that an individual’s right to possess firearms is not connected to service in a militia, and McDonald v. Chicago, which invalidated that city’s handgun ban.

According to the resolution, “Grant County Court will not authorize or appropriate governmental funds, resources, employees, agencies, contractors, buildings, detention centers or offices for the purpose of enforcing any element of such acts, laws, orders, mandates, rules or regulations that infringe on the right by the people to keep and bear arms.”

That includes:

• Registration requirements for existing lawfully owned firearms.

• Prohibitions, regulations and/or use restrictions related to ownership of semi-automatic firearms, including those with the appearance or features similar to fully automatic firearms or military “assault style” firearms.

• Prohibition, regulations and/or use restrictions limiting hand grips, stock, flash suppressors, bayonet mounts, magazine capacity, clip capacity, internal capacity or types of ammunition available for sale, possession or use.

• Registration and background check requirements beyond those customarily required at time of purchase prior to December 2012.

• Restrictions prohibiting the possession, carry or transport of lawfully acquired firearms or ammunition by law-abiding adult citizens or minors supervised by adults.

The resolution also acknowledges provisions of existing laws, including prohibiting possession of firearms by certain felons, individuals who are ruled mentally ill and certain individuals convicted of domestic violence; possession of machine guns, short-barreled shotguns, silencers and bump-type stocks; possession of unlawfully concealed firearms; possession of firearms by a minor; and possession of firearms in public buildings.

Richard Hanners is a reporter for the Blue Mountain Eagle. He can be contacted at rick@bmeagle.com or 541-575-0710.

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