Sheriff, group sue to block strict Oregon gun control law
The gun owner at the heart of the controversy over Oregon’s new restrictions on guns has vowed to fight.
Sheriff Tom Bosenko is leading the effort to block the new gun control laws, which he claims will infringe on his ability to carry out his duties.
“It’s a very dangerous thing — what they want to do,” he told state lawmakers in a letter Tuesday after the House and Senate approved the bills. “If I was carrying a weapon, I could stop a car and hold people at gunpoint. I could break down their doors, open fire and end this.
The state Department of Justice, the Oregon Legislative Assembly and Gov. Ted Kulongoski have already rejected his efforts to halt the regulations.
The new law will take effect in January, but Bosenko has until mid-April to file a lawsuit challenging it in U.S. District Court in Portland. The lawsuit will be heard by a federal magistrate judge, who will have two weeks to issue a ruling on whether to issue a preliminary injunction to stop the law from taking effect. If the judge grants the injunction, the sheriff can move for a hearing on the merits of the case.
In a hearing Monday, Bosenko said he was being targeted by the new legislation because of his role as sheriff. The new law, which was approved by a vote of 18-3 in the Senate in February, allows law enforcement officers to carry a firearm while off duty.
At the hearing, state Sen. Brian Boquist, R-Dallas, pointed to a report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics which said there were 1,000,000 off-duty law enforcement officers in the United States as of 2011.
But the bill’s sponsor, state Sen. Jeff Kruse, R-Orem, said Oregon’s off-duty officers are trained “to do so many other things beyond a mere firearm.”
Oregon has long allowed off-duty law enforcement officers to carry guns under certain circumstances.
Senate Bill 8