By Nicole Montesano • Staff Writer • 

County eyes resolution to ignore gun law

The commissioners are set to meet at 10 a.m. Thursday in Room 32 of the Yamhill County Courthouse, 535 N.E. Fifth St.

They were hoping an earlier resolution, also passed by commissioners in several other counties, would dissuade the state Legislature from passing the bill. Commissioner Stan Primozich even traveled to Salem to offer opposition testimony.

At their Monday afternoon meeting, commissioners said the new resolution stems from the bill’s lack of clarity. They argued no one understands it, so there is no logical way to enforce it.

“Basically, this makes criminals out of law-abiding citizens, and we’re not going to go beating the bushes for that,” said Commissioner Mary Starrett, who made gun rights a prominent plank in her campaign platform.

The resolution begins by quoting the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, establishing a right to bear arms. The board of commissioners, it goes on to say, “recognizes that the first and last protectors of the Constitutions of the United States of America and Oregon are the people of the United States and Oregon, and that the ability of the people to fulfill that role rests in large part on the people’s right to bear arms.”

The resolution notes that “the significant majority of all lawfully owned firearms in the United States will not be used in a crime in any given year.” Despite that, it says, “state and federal lawmakers continue to propose measures aimed at restricting all firearms and ammunition, including bans, taxation, extensive waiting periods, registration, licensing and even confiscation.”

It states, “Yamhill County opposes any state or federal law that abridges or is contrary to the provisions of the Constitution of the United States of America and the State of Oregon preserving people’s right to keep and bear arms.” That being the case it says, “Yamhill County is unable to expend any county resources for the implementation and enforcement of Senate Bill 941.”




Well, that'll impress whoever. Since there isn't anything to implement in Senate Bill 941, our commissioners might as well pass a resolution ignoring the Chinese New Year.

The only time this is even going to become an issue is if a gun is involved in a crime or confiscated from someone who's arrested for whatever reason, and if the investigation reveals that the gun was acquired from someone who failed to do a background check pursuant to the law, I'm sure police and the DA will act according to Oregon law and not according to meaningless resolutions passed by county commissions.

john fritter

How would you prove the gun was acquired before or after bill 941? If the weapon was originally purchased after bill 941 would be the only way they could even assume there was no background check done.


The law requires records to be kept on gun transactions. Even if they were not in a particular case, it's not that hard for a detective to determine.
The more common kind of enforcement will be triggered when a prospective buyer flunks a background check, which happens every day in the U.S. In that event, SB 941 directs the state police to notify the local law enforcement agency that has jurisdiction.
That would be either a city police department or the county sheriff's office, and both are headed by independent officials not under county commissioner control.
Steve Bagwell
Managing Editor

john fritter

Like I said there is no way to prove a firearm originally purchased from the dealer prior to bill 941 was resold after bill 941 was implemented. so I guess my point or question is how would anyone be able to prove someone failed to do a background check if you cant prove if it was sold before or after bill 941.


"The more common kind of enforcement will be triggered when a prospective buyer flunks a background check, which happens every day in the U.S..."

The reality is that this alone will not trigger anything other than the buyer doesn't get his gun, just like happens every day in the US since the Brady law. The only exception is if the check reveals an outstanding warrant for another offense. No one gets arrested just for failing a background check, and no one will in Oregon, because a lot of the reasons for failing are administrative rather than criminal, sometimes approvals are just delayed for a few days, and since Oregon doesn't have its own databases, but uses the same federal ones as any other state, the checks are subject to all the known vagaries.

And how do you "prove" when a gun was acquired? Don't overthink this. Criminals are by and large idiots. So the police arrest a guy with a gun for whatever. Where did you get the gun? I bought it last month from my friend Joe. So they ask Joe, did you do a background check? And Joe goes, Ummm...., and faces misdemeanor charges under 941. That's the only realistic scenario under which anyone will ever face enforcement of 941 provisions.

john fritter

And I guess Joe could say "ummm... no I sold it years ago did I need to do a back ground check?" So once again how are we going to prove it?


Yamhill, like other constitutionally formed county governments are just stating their displeasure with a totally ineffective, unenforceable law. Did I mention "unfunded mandate"?

Notice in the remarks that the BUYER --who is not a lawful citizen (not always the case) does not get charged for the purchase, only the seller is. Proof that this has nothing to do with crime, just the creation of criminals from previous law abiding citizens.