Editorial: County pro-gun measure flawed

A local initiative that seeks to protect gun rights is unnecessary, misguided and almost certainly would be tossed out by the courts.
The petition seeks to add a “Right to Bear Arms Amendment” to the Jackson County Charter. Backers are responding to a proposed statewide initiative that would ban the ownership of some military-style assault weapons.
We’re not interested in debating whether an assault-weapon ban would be effective in preventing mass shootings. What we can say is that such a ban likely would be constitutional, despite opponents’ protests, while the county-level measure would not be.
The late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, in the court’s ruling that the Second Amendment protects an individual right, wrote that the amendment is not absolute, and does not prohibit any number of reasonable restrictions on firearms. So the statewide initiative is probably constitutional.
The local initiative would order the county sheriff to determine whether any federal, state or local law regulating firearms, accessories or ammunition “violates the Second, Ninth, or Tenth Amendments to the Constitution.” County sheriffs don’t get to decide which laws are constitutional and which are not. Only the courts have that power.
The statewide initiative may or may not make the ballot, and may or may not pass if it does. Opponents of the push to ban some semi-automatic firearms and high-capacity magazines would be better off spending their time and energy campaigning against that measure than pushing a blatantly unconstitutional county initiative.

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