A Gresham woman has filed suit to stop Multnomah County's fledgling gun control law, saying county commissioners overstepped their bounds by making it apply to all cities in the county.
As WW first reported, Roxanne Ross and her lawyer, Bruce McCain, believe the county's gun control laws—requiring residents to lock up guns near minors and prohibiting carrying a loaded weapon in public, among other things—violate state laws. They filed the lawsuit Friday in Multnomah County Circuit Court.
McCain and Ross argue that county commissioners cannot impose laws on incorporated cities without the city's consent. McCain says he's planning on addressing the city councils of Gresham, Fairview, Wood Village and Troutdale to see if they would like to join his suit.
The law, promoted by County Chairman Jeff Cogen and Commissioner Deborah Kafoury, was passed in April. Kafoury told WW last month that the laws were drafted to intentionally make cities fall in line. The law mirrors a 2010 ordinance in the city of Portland.
"This issue is bigger than just regulating firearms," McCain told WW in an email. "It really involves the relevant power between a home rule county and an incorporated city to self-govern their own affairs."
McCain says having a blanket gun control law is a slippery slope, and the more liberal county commissioners could perhaps start forcing other laws—like mandatory sick leave–on conservative east county cities.
He says he also plans to file a preliminary injunction to stop the laws from being enforced in any city that hasn't consented to it.
County spokesman David Austin says there are many other examples of where county rules apply to cities.
"We don't comment on pending litigation," Austin says. "But our county attorney's office will look at the suit and defend it. We stand by the ordinance."