© 2024 | Jefferson Public Radio
Southern Oregon University
1250 Siskiyou Blvd.
Ashland, OR 97520
541.552.6301 | 800.782.6191
Listen | Discover | Engage a service of Southern Oregon University
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Shasta County supervisors to reconsider Second Amendment resolution after impasse

The Shasta County Board of Supervisors discusses the proposed Second Amendment resolution on Feb. 21.
Jane Vaughan
Shasta County Board of Supervisors
The Shasta County Board of Supervisors discusses the Second Amendment resolution on Feb. 21, 2023.

The Board of Supervisors decided Tuesday night to discuss the proposal again at its March 14 meeting.

At a meeting on Tuesday night, the Shasta County Board of Supervisors spent nearly three hours on a resolution that would express its support for the Constitution’s Second Amendment and proclaim the importance of the Constitution.

When the time came to approve the resolution, the vote was tied 2-2 with one abstention, so the resolution did not pass. The board voted instead to reconsider it at a future meting.

The original resolution states that the board has the power to decide whether or not a law is unconstitutional. But opponents say the county has no right to make such judgements.

The resolution was requested by Board Chairman Patrick Jones and drafted and submitted by the California Rifle and Pistol Association (CRPA) in collaboration with the local CRPA chapter.

Dozens of residents spoke at the meeting, with most in favor of passing the resolution.

"A lot of this has to do with protecting our way of life," said Jess Harris, the Northern California Programs Representative for the CPRA. "[This resolution] is ensuring that the law-abiding citizens of your county have the ability to defend themselves and their families."

Some felt that the resolution was ineffective or unnecessary.

"There's no issue in this community about supporting the Second Amendment. So please, don't make an issue out of it. We all support the Second Amendment, period," said Judy Salter.

Much of the discussion came down to the edited version of the resolution, as recommended by staff and County Counsel Rubin Cruse, Jr.

The edited version would "leave to the Courts to decide whether any state or federal laws violate the Second Amendment," according to Shasta County Public Information Officer David Maung, which is how the system currently works.

The original version, as submitted by the CRPA, would "be asserting that the Board has the ability to decide whether any particular state or federal law violates the Second Amendment," according to Maung. Cruse did not approve this version of the resolution due to legal concerns.

Former Shasta County Public Defender Jeff Gorder agreed with the staff edits, saying in public testimony, "I'll come out of retirement and sue the county if this resolution is passed with the language as it stands."

Shasta County Sheriff Michael Johnson also supported the edited version.

After the public hearing, Cruse verbally sparred with Jones and board member Chris Kelstrom, often about who determines whether a law is unconstitutional.

"Whether or not a law is determined to be repugnant to the Constitution is determined by the courts, not by this board," Cruse said.

Jones went through each of Cruse's edits and asked whether there was legal reason for it to be included in the resolution.

When Jones protested at one point, Cruse said, "This board has no authority to determine what is unconstitutional."

Board member Mary Rickert agreed.

"I do believe in and support the Second Amendment. But I consider this resolution is an overreach of this board's authority," she said. "As a board, we do not have the ability to interpret the Constitution to meet our own personal agenda."

Eventually, the board voted on whether to adopt the original resolution with only one of the counsel's edits. Rickert and Tim Garman voted against it, Jones and Kelstrom voted for it and Kevin Crye abstained, citing his desire for more information and personal legal counsel.

Now, the Board will reconsider the resolution in March.

Jane Vaughan is a regional reporter for Jefferson Public Radio. Jane began her journalism career as a reporter for a community newspaper in Portland, Maine. She's been a producer at New Hampshire Public Radio and worked on WNYC's On The Media.