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Commissioners tackle proposed Second Amendment ordinance
ENTERPRISE — Nearly 70 people attended the second public hearing on a proposed county ordinance to preserve the Second Amendment Monday at the Wallowa County Courthouse.
A third rendition was offered as the most recent proposed ordinance, which is still not satisfactory with Wallowa County Sheriff Steve Rogers, who said he is not qualified to determine what incidences are in contradiction to the Constitution.
“As I read this, and I’ve talked to counsel, it puts me in the position as an attorney or a Supreme Court justice that has to sort these things out,” Rogers said. “I don’t have the black robe or the degree to do that. I don’t mind being the one to make a decision or being held accountable, but as we’ve talked before, as for the sheriff sitting in judgement, that’s not where I should be.”
The proposed ordinance would make it a violation for any county official to not uphold the Second Amendment or expend county funds to comply with federal or state authorities seeking to remove guns from Wallowa County citizens.
Chad Nash, who is a spokesman for the proposed ordinance, said the sheriff could lose his job if he backs something the people disagree with.
“If you find something that is constitutional that we the people disagree with, you won’t be the sheriff in the next election,” Nash said. “We are the judge and the jury to back up the decisions you make.”
Commissioner Paul Castilleja said he was concerned about the wording of the current draft, as well.
“I am reluctant to go through with this before we get the correct language,” he said.
Mike Hayward, the Wallowa County Board of Commissioners chairman, said he was concerned that the wording of the proposed ordinance makes the county employees at risk of being arrested for not upholding it.
“It occurred to me that in the past when we’ve done ordinances they have been applicable to all the residents in the county. This only really applies to about 64 people, the employees of the county. If one of them is found in violation, he may be made a defendant. Why does it not just say, ‘Anyone found in violation’ so that the ordinance applies to all of the county’s employees?”
Nash said the intent of the ordinance is to make sure county resources are not used for over-reaching in regards to the Second Amendment — county employees, the sheriff, the commissioners all the way down the line.
Dan DeBoie of Joseph said he thinks an ordinance will cause more issues than it solves.
“My main problem looking at this whole issue is this isn’t constitutional according to my definition,” he said. “When I was commissioner we were frustrated because processes have to be correct and this is out of line.”