By GRW Senior Staff Comments (1)
The Second Amendment Preservation Ordinance
The Second Amendment Preservation Ordinance is an ordinance aimed at sending a clear message to gun control advocates about the gun rights specifically enumerated in the US Constitution, and the idea appears to be catching on in the states of Oregon and Illinois.
It’s unclear where this movement started, but some sources point to Oregon. Oregon counties have been passing Second Amendment Preservation Ordinances since 2013. In Wallowa County, a man named Leo Castillo wrote the original ordinance and got it passed through his county’s board of commissioners. Wheeler County followed in 2015 and Curry County in 2016.
The statewide effort is being coordinated by Rob Taylor, a Coos County resident who leads the movement’s Committee to Preserve the Second Amendment.
Taylor, however, found that a different path to getting The Second Amendment Preservation Ordinance, or SAPO, passed would be necessary. Initially meeting stiff resistance from the Coos County board of commissioners when it was presented to them in 2015, Taylor then took the issue to the voters, who passed a ballot measure that allows the county to restrict funding for gun laws passed by state lawmakers.
Taking a page from the playbook of California sheriffs who refuse to enforce immigration laws, Taylor quickly realized that more right-leaning sheriffs in other parts of the nation could use the same strategy to ignore oppressive gun laws, as he envisioned legislation that could allow them to do just that. Since then, Taylor has helped several other counties file similar ballot measure proposals.
This single county ballot measure in 2015 has blossomed into a full-blown movement. Gun Rights Watch now dutifully maintains a series of maps of Oregon and Illinois which are updated routinely, showing the advancement of this ordinance, and a continuing march for gun rights across both states. We feel confident that many more states will follow, as news of the SAPO’s advance hits the news media more and more often.
Renewed Interest in 2018
This now brings us to reflect on how the SAPO has picked up steam this year, with the filing of bill IP 43, which is yet another “assault weapons” ban. before I explain how IP 43 has caused the SAPO movement to pick up steam, allow me to go off on a tangent for moment:
I put quotations around those 2 words because there is no such thing as an assault weapon. An assault weapon, as the meaning of which can be inferred from the language of the plethora of anti-gun bills that have been put forward and passed since the Assault Weapons Ban of 1994, is any gun which you don’t like because it looks big and bad and scary. If it has a bump stock, can hold more than ten bullets, is painted black, or has a tacky skull embossed on the handle, someone will use that as an excuse to call it an assault weapon. An assault rifle is a real thing. An “assault weapon” is a non-descriptive, derogatory term that some liberal politician made up because someone’s gun looks big, bad and scary.
And by the way, being big and bad and scary is exactly what a gun is supposed to do. As any self-defense expert with some familiarity with firearms will tell you, the most protective thing about a gun is simply its appearance. A gun is most useful, and most often deters violent crimes, by merely displaying it. I’m fully convinced that guns prevent many more crimes simply by being visible, much more often in fact than actually firing one at a bad guy.
Okay, rant over.
IP 43 was filed on March 22 in Oregon. So far, instead of taking any “assault weapons” off the streets, it has instead renewed the interest in SAPO. Several counties have filed and even passed the ordinance by now; check our website or facebook page. I won’t try to tell you which ones have passed it in this post because the number changes rapidly.
Illinois apparently has taken up the cause of gun rights legislation with gusto now too. David Campbell, a print shop owner from southern Illinois, and Bryan Kibler, a prosecutor, have spearheaded a push to bring a version of SAPO to Illinois; the Illinois SAPO doesn't actually have any teeth, however, it's merely a statement that residents of Illinois county can make, and a message to the local sheriff of that county that they would prefer he didn't enforce federal gun laws. Their county of Effingham adopted the resolution on April 16th, and word spread quickly via conservative news sites and gun blogs. This started a chain reaction of Illinois counties fanning the flames of liberty by adopting the resolution and further popularizing this legislation; again, be sure to check the Gun Rights Watch website and Facebook page for our constantly updating map of the Illinois Gun Sanctuary Counties.
Coos County – First to Enact the Ordinance
Initially first enacted in Coos County, Oregon, the ordinance seems to have touched off a string of ballot initiatives in several counties to put the measure to a vote. Coos County voters signaled their overwhelming approval of the ordinance with a 60 percent majority and simultaneously showed their disapproval of Senate Bill 941, which was signed into law by Governor Brown on May 11,2015.
(SB 941, the Oregon Firearms Safety Act, is yet another unconstitutional law which adds the requirement of a background safety check for firearm purchases. Unfortunately, a Google search for "SB 941" showed me links to several news stories about SB 941 being proposed, placed on a ballot, or even passed in many other states besides Oregon.)
Douglas County Hearing
In Douglas County, the County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously on June 20th to place the Second Amendment Preservation Ordinance on the ballot this November.
Following a public hearing where residents gave the expected mixture of opinions for and against the legislation, supporters of the measure spoke of the previously mentioned need to send a message about the gun rights that are stated clearly in the constitution, and gun control advocates and other opponents of the ordinance said that it would place sheriffs in the moral quandary of having to decide whether to enact the will of the people, or whether to follow blatantly unconstitutional state and federal gun laws. They also said that (drum roll please...repeat it with me now, in your best trance-inducing mantra) gun regulations are necessary to protect the children.
It seems to me that the children would be best protected by a trained parent with a firearm rather than left to the caprices of the state which seems to believe that taking the guns away from only the good, law-abiding people will somehow make the children safe (because bad guys don't obey laws, especially gun laws, remember? That's what makes them bad guys...).
And now, Columbia County
Columbia County, Illinois has been working to get the SAPO enacted since at least early 2016. Earlier this year, enough signatures were collected by petition filer Chris Brumbles, so the people of Columbia County, Oregon can now help their county pass a Second Amendment Preservation Ordinance like the people in Coos County did.
So, what is the Second Amendment Preservation Ordinance?
This ordinance appears to be a resolution that is legally binding in some places, such as Oregon, and not so in others such as Illinois, depending upon the wording of the particular document. It would allow sheriffs in the counties where it passes the right to decide whether or not the citizens of their county need to observe state and federal gun laws if those laws are deemed by the county sheriff to violate the second amendment. This measure actually supersedes local and national gun laws in those places where it is binding, deferring instead to the language of the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States, as all US citizens should be rightfully allowed to do.
The principal purpose of the ordinance in all cases is to send the message about how the voters of a county feel about their Second Amendment rights, primarily to the sheriff of the county but also to the balance of the county government.
In addition to the right to keep and bear arms, this ordinance also allows the free manufacture, sale, and purchase of firearms, firearm accessories and ordinance. SAPO is intended to not only comply with and advocate the spirit of the Second Amendment, it also further affirms the Ninth Amendment of the US Constitution, which states that the ancillary firearm rights mentioned above shall never be denied or prohibited by the misinterpretation of any other amendments. It then also reaffirms the Tenth Amendment of the US Constitution, reminding voters and legislators that any powers that the US Constitution doesn't reserve specifically for itself or specifically deny to states, are left by default to the states.
Also, SAPO mentions the Oregon state constitution, illustrating that the state document also reiterates the Second Amendment and the relevant parts of the Ninth Amendment where it pertains to gun rights.
Finally, SAPO declares that no county government shall authorize or appropriate anything which contradicts the rights outlined in the above mentioned amendments, such as more government bureaucracies designed to administrate registration requirements for firearms, or background checks.
Simply put, SAPO makes it clear that there should be no firearm registration or background checks, as the framers of the US Constitution intended.
The Future of the Second Amendment Preservation Ordinance
To summarize, it seems clear that an honest-to-goodness movement is now underway, at least in Oregon and Illinois. What remains to be seen is whether the SAPO can be brought to the other 48 states of our great nation. So far, internet searches for the Second Amendment Preservation Ordinances only turn up news articles from the two aforementioned states, but we at Gun Rights Watch are hopeful that more states will jump on the bandwagon.