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Edict gets OK from county
County commissioners unanimously pass Second Amendment ordinance
ENTERPRISE — A Wallowa County ordinance preserving the Second Amendment was unanimously passed Monday during a public meeting at the Wallowa County Fairgrounds’ Cloverleaf Hall.
Commissioner Paul Castilleja read a five-page draft of the ordinance compiled in part by Chad Nash of Enterprise.
Nash said writing the ordinance was due to reactions to gun violence across the country.
“Groups across the country have been trying to put together some languages to make sure our Second Amendment rights are not infringed upon. It’s not just in Eastern Oregon, but in other states,” Nash said.
In a previous county commissioner meeting, Nash said three other counties in the nation had passed a similar ordinance. There are 3,077 counties in the U.S.
Nash said the ordinance was written by “those of us who want to restore rights that have been taken from us through the adoption of a county ordinance.”
Nearly 100 people were in attendance and Nash said he had 67 signatures on a petition supporting the ordinance from citizens of Lostine and Wallowa.
Nash said Sheriff Steve Rogers is the chief executive of the county who is charged to carry out the law when the legislature exceeds its bounds.
“We can hold the sheriff accountable. We can hold our county commissioners accountable,” Nash said. “It is important that we support our sheriff and that he hears our voices as well.”
Nash said the other section of note are the penalties for lack of enforcement. “We felt that it was very important to go through the effort of making an ordinance with some teeth in it,” he said.
Nash said the penalties section comes out of the Oregon statutes and county counsel and commissioners have looked at it.
“We got a little sidetracked to try and make it legal,” Nash said. “But it’s important in limiting the power and authority of our elected officials.”
Nash said there has been concern over religious language.
“It is my personal belief that the rights we enjoy are because we draw breath here on the Earth,” Nash said. “Because we exist, and because we have the wherewithal to defend ourselves come from our creator.”
Forty minutes after the start of the meeting, Leo Castillo of La Grande entered the room with another version of the ordinance.
He said some of the things that happened in the last year, including the introduction of legislation, prompted him to draft an ordinance. He said his draft addressed legal concerns raised by county counsel.
Castillo’s version differed from the version that was ultimately passed.
Despite good-sized turnouts of supporters at all three public hearings, some Wallowa County citizens had dissenting comments.
“It’s unconstitutional and bordering on treason. It is entirely ridiculous,” Evelyn Swart said. “The only people who can benefit from it are people who are fearful or making money off of selling guns.”
Swart wasn’t the only one who voiced opposition to the ordinance. Ann Broward said she believes the issue is a waste of time and resources.
“The Second Amendment is not losing, it’s winning,” she said. “Supporters fought back every attempt to do any kind of regulation since 2004. Scholars have spent 230 years debating the Constitution and its amendments and its many interpretations. The entire county does not agree that any public servant should be arrested for enforcing a law based on a different interpretation of the law.”
The passed ordinance goes into effect immediately.