Many Oregon Sheriffs Vow NOT To Enforce New Anti-Gun Ballot Initiative

P. Gardner Goldsmith | November 16, 2022
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Ahh, democracy.

Mob rule. Or, as Ben Franklin is said to have noted, “two wolves and a lamb voting over what to have for lunch...”

Aristotle warned the ancients about “democracy” and advised that any government system that purports to “protect rights” must have a written constitution limiting the political power the “majority” can wield against others.

But many pop media members don’t care about that. Seemingly every election, they lecture us about “a vote for democracy” and ceaselessly claim “our democracy is at stake” – which implies that if they don’t get their way, somehow, “the people” won’t be free.



So, many of them seemed to celebrate the gangland thuggery of mob rule “democracy” upon seeing last week’s victory of an Oregon ballot initiative mandating that people get permission from the state to own guns -- a ballot initiative also “limiting the legality” of “high capacity” firearm magazines.

Not a bit of which people with criminal intent will abide, but who's ever accused leftists of having any understanding of the real world?

Now, as more and more Oregon sheriffs are standing up for their oaths to protect and defend the Constitution and its barriers against mob rule, many of those media members seem to be rather perturbed.

In a brief piece to which the editor attached a factually correct, but fact-obscurant headline, Newsweek offered:

“Oregon Sheriffs Defy Voters, Refuse to Enforce New Gun-Control Measure”

Technically right, but “defy” is a confrontational term implying that this small cabal of sheriffs is disregarding the “will of the people”.

Anytime one hears or detects an insinuation of the “will of the people” being “expressed through the ballot box” he or she ought to beware. There is only individual will and the freedom to make voluntary agreements with others. The “will of the people”, correctly understood, should mean the wills of each individual person, expressed freely and peacefully, by each individual, in society, through voluntary interaction, not forced on people.

What they want people to think is that “democracy” is the “will of the people,” when it’s actually the violence of a gang of people using government to impose their will on others – period.

Newsweek’s editors imply that the sheriffs are “defying” all the voters, when many voters tried to stop this ballot-initiative infringement on rights, and many people likely didn’t vote at all.

The Newsweek team just as easily could have offered a headline correctly stating that the sheriffs are promising not to breach the US Constitution, regardless of “democratic” jackals salivating for people’s guns.

Within the piece, Khaleda Rahman writes:

“A number of Oregon sheriffs have said they will not enforce Measure 114, a gun-control law narrowly passed by voters in the midterm elections on November 8.

The legislation requires a permit from law enforcement for people to purchase firearms.”

Don’t you love that term “gun control”?

It’s not “gun control” at all.

It’s threats to use state-owned, tax-funded guns in the hands of government agents, guns that will be pointed at peaceful people merely for owning a firearm or a magazine of the wrong kind. That means that the supposed “opponents” of “gun violence” backing this initiative actually back ceaseless threats of gun violence – conducted by the state. This is undeniable and simply a matter of logic and philosophical understanding of the nature of the polis.

Rahman provides the additional obligatory details about the ballot measure that really don’t matter to those who stand on principle, the principle that not one infringement on the right to keep and bear arms is either constitutional or moral, but just for the sake of the record, she notes:

“Applicants would need to complete an approved, in-person firearm safety course, pay a fee, provide personal information, submit to fingerprinting and photographing, and pass a federal criminal background check to qualify for a permit. These would be processed by local police chiefs, county sheriffs or their designees.”

All of which are obvious infringements of the individual right to keep and bear arms.

She adds:

“The measure also bans large-capacity magazines over 10 rounds, except in some circumstances, and creates a statewide firearms database.”

Isn’t it quaint to see how media members can characterize as “large-capacity” or “high capacity” a magazine allowing more than ten rounds? When did they get to decide what was “large” or “high” capacity?

When they made it up, to scare people, to give the government rhetorical leverage to paint some kinds of magazines as threatening to all of society, while others were “acceptable” in their elitist eyes.

She also notes that The Oregon State Sheriffs' Association, comprised of 36 state sheriffs, opposed the ballot initiative, citing not only the rights-violating nature of it, but also the expense of creating the “firearms database.”

Related: Federal Court Affirms People With Restraining Orders Still Have Gun Rights | MRCTV

That’s also known as a gun registry – along the lines of the one Weimar Germany set up, which shortly thereafter used to confiscate the guns from people that were subsequently arrested and exterminated in mass numbers.

Working with a bit more of a measured, journalistic approach, Oregon ABC affiliate KATU-2 offered this headline for Christina Giardinelli’s report:

“Some Oregon sheriffs vow not to enforce parts of gun control measure”

And, indeed, the numbers of sheriffs vowing not to enforce the ballot initiative is increasing. Giardinelli notes that after Linn County Sheriff Michelle Duncan Nov 9 posted to the agency’s Facebook page a statement that she would refuse to enforce magazine capacity:

“Since the post was made, at least two more Oregon sheriffs have also vowed not to uphold the measure. 

Union County Sheriff Cody Bowen posted to social media applauding and jumping on board with Duncan's statement.  

‘As Union County Sheriff I agree 100% with Sheriff Duncan! This is an infringement on our constitutional rights and will not be enforced by my office,’ his post reads. ‘This measure will only harm law abiding gun owners and result in wasted time with additional redundant background checks.’"


And she adds: 

“Malheur County Sheriff Brian Wolfe said in an interview that he also does not intend to enforce magazine capacity limits. 

‘That is just the way it's going to be. We have already made that decision,’ he said. ‘The supreme law of the land is a constitution of the United States, and I believe that this measure is totally contrary to the Constitution.’"

Well said. These people swear oaths not to uphold “state laws” but to protect and defend the US Constitution and the Oregon Constitution, both of which not only forbid the registry/data-collection (which represents a warrantless search of parties involved in the sale and/or ownership of guns and magazines), but the latter, Oregon document, also explicitly reiterates the US Second Amendment:

“Section 27. Right to bear arms; military subordinate to civil power. The people shall have the right to bear arms for the defence [sic] of themselves, and the State, but the Military shall be kept in strict subordination to the civil power.”

Which brings us back to Aristotle.

He was wise to warn against direct “democracy”. He offered sage advice to those who wanted to push the idea of a polis, explaining that political systems needed written rules that everyone can read.

But in a world where political players will “read into” the very clear wording of those rules, and where those rules, themselves, actually are imposed on people, is it any wonder we suffer such indignities and threats from agents of the state and from those who would arrogate even more power unto the government?

Was Aristotle mistaken about how well his constitutional barrier would hold?

The battle for that answer rages, in Oregon, and across the US. And we all are part of it.

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