Ballot processing

Barbara Parrott, left, and Joy Bridgham, members of the Coos County Board of Elections, share a joke while opening up ballots to be counted on Tuesday at the Coos County Election’s Office in Coquille.

Amanda Loman, The World

COQUILLE — Rob Taylor wanted to see what Coos County voters believe and where their values lie.

His faith in the constituents appears to have paid off as his Second Amendment Preservation Ordinance passed with more than 60 percent voting in favor of the measure.

After Taylor successfully gathered enough signatures to put the measure on Tuesday's ballot, he said he maintained the same level of optimism that the voters would agree on election night.

"I was pretty confident and sure of getting 60 percent or more, and that's pretty much what we got," Taylor said. "That we won by 20 percent or more says people support the Second Amendment and oppose the background checks in SB 941."

As part of the measure, the county sheriff is also given the discretion to determine whether state or federal laws violate the Second Amendment.

Though the measure passed, it still faces several hurdles as questions have arisen about whether the measure is constitutional, an issue Commissioner Melissa Cribbins also raised.

"My concern is that it will cost the county money," Cribbins said. "We'll have to meet with legal counsel and determine if it is enforceable under the Constitution of the United States."

The Law Center to Prevent Gun violence had already denounced the measure prior to the election results.

“The Coos County referendum to nullify state firearms law and require the sheriff to analyze whether federal and state firearms laws are constitutional displays a gross misunderstanding of the U.S. Constitution," executive director Robyn Thomas said in a news release. "The measure misuses constitutional provisions to support the proposition that a jurisdiction may disobey federal and state laws when residents disagree with those laws on political grounds.

"The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Heller made clear that reasonable regulation of firearms is presumptively lawful. This measure is patently unlawful and will bring costly litigation and unwanted negative attention to the County."

Perfectly aware of the challenges to come, Taylor said the next steps would add clarity to whether the background checks established under SB 941 were, in fact, constitutional.

"My hope at some point is that someone that is able to take it to a court and challenge it to find whether it is constitutional or SB 941 is constitutional," Taylor said. "For everyone who supported the measure, I thank you and stay tuned because we have a lot more measures coming your way."

Reporter Devan Patel can be reached at 541-269-1222, ext. 249, or by email at devan.patel@theworldlink.com. Follow him on Twitter: @DevanJPatel.

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