Max Denning

Union County became one of eight counties in Oregon to pass a controversial Second Amendment Preservation Ordinance on Tuesday.

The ballot measure passed with 58.73 percent of the vote.

The ordinance expands the definition of firearms and prohibits the enforcement of laws that regulate the manufacture, sale and possession in Union County. It will require the sheriff to review any state or federal laws affecting firearms or firearms accessories and determine whether or not they are constitutional. It makes “unconstitutional in Union County any law or regulation that restricts a person from possessing firearms, ammunition, and firearms accessories,” according to the measure.

The measure appeared on the ballot in Baker, Columbia, Douglas, Jackson, Klamath, Lake, Lincoln, Linn, Umatilla and Union counties. The unofficial returns show the measure passing in all but Lincoln and Linn.

Ken Wisdom, chief petitioner for the ballot measure in Union County, said before the election the impetus behind the effort was when a group of Portland faith leaders began collecting signatures for Initiative Petition 43 some types of weapons and high-capacity magazines in Oregon.

Wisdom said when gun-control advocates began collecting signatures for IP 43, it pushed him toward action.

“We decided we had to get on the ball and do something about this because (IP 43 supporters) were really pushing,” Wisdom said. “We really needed to step up and do something (because IP 43 would) really affect businesses right here in Union County.”

Phil Gillette, manager of the sporting goods department at Ace Hardware in La Grande, said in a previous Observer article the law would have severely limited the type of guns he would have been able to sell.

“It would have affected a wide variety of businesses,” Gillette said. “We are known in Northeast Oregon to be the hub of the outdoor center. Something like that passes, guess what? You’re going to see businesses close. Pretty simple.”

See more in Wednesday's edition of The Observer.

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