SALEM, Ore. — Oregon's Department of Justice has filed lawsuits against two county governments that defied a new state gun law by passing local ordinances, Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum's office announced Friday.
Both counties adopted ordinances that Rosenblum's office says "seek to nullify new statewide gun safety laws." The ordinances also stipulate that officials who enforce the state's laws can be prosecuted or subjected to private lawsuits.
Senate Bill 554 was passed during the 2021 legislative session and went into effect September 25 following Governor Kate Brown's signature. The bill includes several new restrictions — first, that public institutions can adopt policies banning guns on the property, even for concealed carry permit holders; and second, that guns be securely stored and locked when not in use.
“Gun safety laws exist to help keep guns out of dangerous hands and keep people safe. A county commission simply doesn’t get to override state law in this way,” said Attorney General Rosenblum. “The laws of Oregon remain fully in force – and fully enforceable – notwithstanding these invalid ordinances.
"No officials should be frightened out of properly doing their job by the threat of illegitimate criminal charges or bogus lawsuits. Although today’s lawsuits are addressed to only these two Oregon counties, other counties have enacted similar illegal ordinances. These actions will hopefully send the message that we are prepared to preserve the rule of law across our state.”
Yamhill and Harney counties are not the first in Oregon to pass "Second Amendment sanctuary" ordinances, but those considered or passed in previous waves — in anticipation of 2018 ballot measures that never reached the ballot — are still being litigated.