OREGON – At least five Oregon sheriffs believe the state’s strict gun control measure passed by voters last week is problematic for several reasons and they are openly refusing to enforce at least parts of the law, according to Fox News.
The top law enforcement officials say the law oversteps Constitutional gun rights and will be an additional drain on resources while failing to address problems involving serious crimes, the Daily Wire reported.
Openly criticizing the new law while assessing their responsibilities to combat crime include Union County Sheriff Cody Bowen, Sherman County Sheriff Brad Lohrey, Malheur County Sheriff Brian Wolfe, Jefferson County Sheriff Jason Pollock, and Linn County Sheriff Michelle Duncan.
Oregon voters approved Measure 114 by a slim margin of 51% to 49%, although some votes are still being tallied. It is the strictest set of gun control regulations in the country. The primary components of the new law, referred to as the Reduction of Gun Violence Act, goes beyond fingerprint collection and background checks, it requires a permit to merely purchase a firearm and makes firearm training compulsory, while also banning any magazine capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition, Law Officer reported.
“The biggest thing is this does absolutely nothing to address the problem,” Union County Sheriff Cody Bowen told Fox. “The problem that we have is not … magazine capacity. It’s not background checks. It’s a problem with mental health awareness. It’s a problem with behavior health illness.”
“Our society as a whole is a bigger problem rather than saying that, you know, the guns are killing people,” he said.
Other sheriffs across the state have joined Bowen in vocalizing concerns with the law and said they will not enforce part or all of it.
“The Linn County Sheriff’s Office is NOT going to be enforcing magazine capacity limits,” Sheriff Michelle Duncan said in a Facebook post, according to the Willamette Week.
Malheur County Sheriff Brian Wolfe said that enforcing the newly enacted requirements would be a senseless waste of his department’s resources, Fox reported.
“It would take away from the things that we’re doing every day to try to keep people safe,” Wolf declared. “Restricting people from ownership of guns in my opinion, is not going to help anything. We’re going to make it harder for people to purchase guns for self-defense.”
Jefferson County Sheriff Jason Pollock outlined his disagreements with the new law in a statement over weekend, highlighting the fact that his agency would not be enforcing it.
“The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office will not enforce Measure 114,” he wrote. “I do not have the personnel to attempt to permit every gun purchase in Jefferson County. Additionally, I believe the provisions of Measure 114 run contrary to previously decided judicial decisions.”
Sherman County Undersheriff James Burgett said that Sheriff Brad Lohrey joined the chorus and would not enforce the new restrictions either.
Deschutes County Sheriff Shane Nelson previously criticized the measure saying it will drain resources.
“This measure will not make our community safer. It will put our communities at greater risk for violence because it requires that every sheriff’s office and police agency divert scarce public safety resources to background systems that already exist,” Nelson said in a video statement, Fox News reported.
Beyond the new restrictions, the National Rifle Association (NRA) says the legislation’s ambiguous language fails to safeguard gun owner information by creating a searchable gun owner database, Law Officer reported.
“The ballot measure gives the power to each permit issuing department to annually publish ‘any additional information that it determines would be helpful’ to the process. That information includes names, addresses, and a whole host of additional personal information that would be released to the public,” NRA spokesperson Lars Dalseide previously told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “This ballot measure fails to safeguard law-abiding gun owners’ personal information – and, by proxy, information of families, friends, and employers – being made public. Failing to include those safeguards puts lives and property at risk.”
A Second Amendment advocate noted, “It’s made owning a firearm in Oregon the equivalent to obtaining a driver’s license, which is a ‘privilege,’ not a ‘right.’ Last I checked, the Second Amendment in the Bill of Rights says gun ownership is a ‘right,’ not a ‘privilege.’ I believe this law miserably fails the constitutional test and will be challenged in court.”