Voters overwhelmingly rejected a ballot measure Tuesday to make Clatsop County a Second Amendment sanctuary.
Measure 4-205, designed by gun rights activists, would have prohibited county resources from being used to enforce any local, state and federal law or regulation that restricts the right to keep and bear firearms, accessories or ammunition.
The measure failed by a 61% to 39% margin.
Leading up to the election, Sheriff Matt Phillips and the mayors of Astoria, Gearhart, Seaside and Cannon Beach came out in opposition to the idea. Phillips also warned that the county could take legal action if the measure passed.
“I appreciate that the voters of Clatsop County educated themselves on this measure and recognized it was not what it appeared at first blush,” Phillips, who was officially elected sheriff on Tuesday, said in a text message.
“The failure of this measure is a vote of support for sheriff deputies, the office of sheriff and a sign of trust in the discretion we are allowed to exercise in conserving the peace.”
District Attorney Ron Brown had said he believes the measure was unconstitutional.
Jim Hoffman, a leader in the Clatsop County Republican Party, collected the signatures to qualify the measure for the ballot.
Rob Taylor, a gun rights activist from Coos County and chairman of the Committee for the Preservation of the Second Amendment, helped craft the measure. Taylor also worked with the Oregon Firearms Federation and the Tenth Amendment Center to customize the measure for ballots in counties throughout the state.
The measure was modeled after sanctuary laws that limit police cooperation with federal immigration agents.
Hoffman said he thinks the opposition from elected leaders turned voters against the measure.
“I think, unfortunately, that people just didn’t understand,” he said. “It wouldn’t stop law enforcement from doing their job. It wouldn’t stop, if say, somebody had an illegal gun — it wouldn’t stop them from taking that gun.”
Voters in Columbia, Coos and Umatilla counties also considered the measure Tuesday.
The measure was narrowly passing in Columbia County. It was rejected in Coos County. The measure was approved in Umatilla County, although the East Oregonian reported it could face legal challenges.