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Second Amendment Sanctuary Ordinance Under Attack

COLUMBIA COUNTY, Oregon – On April 12, 2022, the supporters of the Second Amendment Sanctuary Ordinance, or SASO, were dragged back to Court.  

On July 29, 2021, a Judicial review was thrown out of the Circuit Court of Oregon as the County Commissioners had failed to bring up a justiciable controversy meant to remove the ordinances their citizens had voted for at the ballot box. “Petitioners do not have the authority to see, and the Court does not have the authority to grant, review of an ordinance without a justiciable controversy. Intervenors’ request to dismiss the petition is granted” Judge Ted Grove 

On April 12, 2022, oral Arguments were submitted to the Court of appeals following an appeal to the previous decision. The arguments in the case from both sides are about standing as to whether the Court and the board of commissioners have the authority to review the ordinances. SASO supporters are being challenged by the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence via an Amicus Curiae. The current argument is that the SASO supporters have misread the applicable statutes and Oregon jurisprudence and that the case presents a live controversy. 

The SASO supporters dispute this by stating that justiciable controversy must be established at the time of the case being filed and that it cannot be created when interested parties cannot create the controversy. Due to this, the SASO supporters state that there is no validation for the proceedings as the statutes expressly contemplate the subsequent appearance of interested parties.  

The SASO supporters recognize that validation proceedings can be done if a governing body may assert that its own action is invalid. This has led to the fact that the Court does have jurisdiction over this case. The Columbia County Residents requested that the Court address the case’s merits as no material facts are in dispute. The case directly impacts public health and safety.  

“The SASO Supporters raise three general arguments against this Court reaching the merits now. First, they claim there could be disputed facts that the trial court should address. However, in the trial court, the SASO Supporters agreed this case should be resolved on cross-motions for summary judgment.” 

“Second, the SASO Supporters dispute that concerns of judicial economy and party resources should lead this Court to resolve this case on the merits. But efficiency and avoidance of delay justify addressing fully briefed issues on appeal, rather than remanding them to the trial court.” 

“Third, the SASO Supporters appear to argue that the Court’s authority on review does not allow for resolution on the merits. But that reading does not comport with ORS 33.720(4). That provision provides that on review of a validation proceeding, this Court may “approve the proceedings in part and may disapprove and declare illegal or invalid in part 

other or subsequent proceedings, or may approve or disapprove the proceedings, or may approve the proceedings in part and disapprove the remainder thereof.” 

Challengers of the SASO state that “Voters were told that Measure 5-278 (2020) was intended to conflict with, and displace, federal and state firearms laws. Those effects plainly are preempted by the state and federal laws the SASO purports to limit and invalidate.” 

The conclusion made by those against the SASO state that the original decision needs to be dismissed, and the SASO declared invalid and unconstitutional. They also state that the SASO must be enjoined (injunction) from enforcement and remanded to the trial court for entry of judgment.  

On November 11, 2022, the official oral arguments were started at 09:00 am. It is unknown, potentially months before a decision is reached regarding what will happen with the SASO.