Two Oregon counties this month passed measures that make it a misdemeanor crime for police to enforce some laws they’re sworn to uphold.

Northwest Oregon’s Columbia County and eastern Oregon’s Umatilla County approved ordinances directing county workers – police included – to ignore the state’s extreme risk protection law, the concealed carry law and most other state regulation of guns. Passed in 2017, Oregon’s extreme risk protection law gives judges discretion to remove guns from people not convicted of a crime who show signs they might shoot themselves or someone else.

Deputies and officers who choose to enforce those laws risk prosecution and hefty fees — criminal sanctions that “we are very proud of,” said Rob Taylor, an Oregon gun rights activist who has lobbied for such measures across the state.

Taylor, a former optician, sees the stricter measures as a way of guaranteeing the Constitution’s right to bear arms, particularly the ability for people to own semi-automatic weapons like the AR-15 and the AK-47 rifles and to use any gun accessory they’d like.

“All we were doing was trying to get rid of all of the regulation that we believe are designed to eliminate gun ownership,” Taylor said.

But whether the measures, known as “gun sanctuary” ordinances, withstand a court challenge remains an open question.

Legal experts — and even some national gun rights advocates — say the resolutions are on shaky
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