One of the biggest issues gun owners have, beyond their personal responsibility of how to handle firearms safely, is understanding the local (and national) gun laws…and how they affect you and what are the nuances. This is getting more and more complex with all the attention they have been getting in the past few years.
Take the recent discussion in Oregon for example. It wasn’t long after the passing of the Washington State law on mandatory background checks that Oregon followed suit. But there law isn’t exactly the same as Washington State’s law. There are constant discussions that both are unconstitutional and will be challenged in court. But until they are, they are the law.
Now add one more wrinkle for gun owners to figure out…what if law enforcement decides to do something different? An article by FoxNews shared how one county in Oregon has their own idea of what is constitutional and what they are going to do, on their own, about it. The article, “Oregon county lets Sherriff ignore ‘unconstitutional’ gun laws, raising legal questions,” is allowing their Sheriff’s discretion about ignoring gun laws they feel are unconstitutional!
This could be very significant to the gun owner…which laws should they obey? Are they following the Oregon State laws that were passed or how the local county Sherriff’s are interpreting the laws? This is making it much more interesting (and potentially difficult) to be a law abiding citizen, especially in Coos County Oregon.
The point all of us need to take in from all this going on is that we are in a new era when it comes to owning firearms. Now we see constant battles over gun control, gun laws, and the 2nd Amendment. And from my perspective, it’s going to continue this way in the foreseeable future. This makes it much more complex to know what you should or shouldn’t do to be compliant within the laws.
I have ongoing and regular discussions with many gun owners and it is clear that many of you have varied levels of understanding about the current laws in our state. This is a dangerous situation since many of the penalties for not understanding the laws are felonies and the ATF and courts are not very understanding. The old phrase, “ignorance is no excuse for not understanding the law,” is more important than ever today. We are expected to understand the law and to abide by it…whatever it might be and how it is written and interpreted.
My recommendation is to not make your own interpretation of the law…get input and advice from an attorney that specializes in gun law. I have personally spent a lot of time in gun law and it is far more complex than most understand. Be a constant learner when it comes to changes in gun laws…it will potentially help keep you out of jail.