Last February 15th, an Oregon court ruled against the state’s “Second Amendment Sanctuary” movement. The ruling stated that local governments cannot prohibit police from enforcing certain gun laws, which could have national implications for anti-gun control efforts.

The lawsuit centered around a 2020 measure passed in Columbia county, a conservative area in the Democratic state, which argued that state and federal gun laws did not apply in the county and banned local officials from enforcing them. This rural region was among the 1,200 areas in the US, from Virginia to New Mexico to Florida, that passed a second amendment sanctuary resolution.

The Oregon state court of appeals found that the law, which included fines for officials who enforced most federal and state gun laws, violated a law granting the state authority to regulate firearms. The court determined that the ordinance would “create a ‘patchwork quilt’ of firearms laws in Oregon”. 

The gun sanctuary movement, which gained momentum nationwide in 2018, had not faced a significant legal challenge until this ruling. The decision will have broad implications in Oregon, where various localities have declared themselves second amendment sanctuaries. The state attorney general has sued two other counties that declared themselves sanctuaries, with one county eventually rescinding its ordinance.

Gun safety groups, some of which argued the ordinance violated the US constitution, welcomed the decision. The executive director of Everytown Law, Eric Tirschwell, called the ruling “a win for public safety and the rule of law,” and stated that opponents of gun safety laws have the right to advocate for change through the ballot box, statehouse, or Congress, but claiming to nullify them at the local level is both unconstitutional and dangerous.

However, the Oregon Firearms Federation, a supporter of the Columbia county ordinance, criticized the ruling, claiming that it contained “false attacks” and called into question the legitimacy of the court and the likelihood of receiving fair rulings from it.

So, does this affect you? If you think it doesn’t just because you don’t live in Oregon, think again. This is only the beginning. I’ll touch on it more in a bit, but for now, let’s talk about what the Second Amendment Sanctuary movement is and why it matters.

The topic of Second Amendment sanctuary is a highly controversial and rapidly expanding topic that has sparked debates among pro-Second Amendment supporters, anti-gun organizations, politicians, and legislators at the local, state, and federal levels. 

With a multitude of opinions, legal frameworks, and constitutional arguments, it is a complex subject, and there are numerous layers of conflicting rules and regulations across different levels of government. Furthermore, it is a matter that cannot be overlooked, as 17 states and 60% of all U.S. counties have implemented some form of Second Amendment sanctuary.

The term “Second Amendment Sanctuary” refers to a movement in the United States that advocates for local jurisdictions, such as cities or counties, to declare themselves as sanctuaries for the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution. The Second Amendment is the part of the Bill of Rights that guarantees citizens the right to bear arms.

The movement has gained momentum in recent years in response to proposed gun control legislation at the state and federal level. Proponents argue that declaring a jurisdiction a Second Amendment Sanctuary sends a message to lawmakers that the citizens of that jurisdiction will not tolerate any infringement on their right to bear arms.

While these declarations have no legal standing, they can serve as a symbolic expression of support for the Second Amendment and a signal to law enforcement that they should not enforce any laws that are perceived to violate it. However, it is important to note that law enforcement officials are still obligated to enforce all applicable laws, regardless of any declarations made by a jurisdiction.

In layman’s terms, Second Amendment sanctuary policies are decisions made by local and state governments to not comply with stringent federal gun regulations. The specifics of which laws to not abide by and how to circumvent them can vary from place to place.

The Second Amendment sanctuary movement can take a variety of forms, ranging from symbolic declarations to large financial penalties. It is derived from the concept of sanctuary cities, which refers to the refusal to abide by federal immigration laws.


The roots of the sanctuary city movement in the U.S. can be traced back to the 1980s. However, as immigration reform has taken up a more prominent role in the public sphere in recent years, the number of regional and state governments that have established sanctuary city policies has increased. In particular, New Mexico, Colorado, California, and Oregon have all implemented comprehensive guidelines to not uphold immigration laws.

It is widely known that Democratic politicians in the United States usually advocate for sanctuary cities, while Republican politicians usually support the enforcement of immigration laws. The phrase “Second Amendment sanctuary” was created as a way to make a political statement in contrast to sanctuary cities, instead using the word “sanctuary” in reference to the right to carry firearms as stated in the Constitution.

In May of 2013, Carroll County in Maryland became the first locality to pass legislation to designate itself a “Second Amendment sanctuary county”. This term had not been used in firearm regulations before this time. In 2018, Bryan Kibler, the state’s attorney in Effingham County, Illinois, adopted the term “Second Amendment sanctuary” when discussing guns, modeled after the phrase “sanctuary cities”. The phrase rapidly gained traction after this.

The response to this inquiry is “it depends,” with the main component being how the law is expressed. If the Second Amendment sanctuary legislation of a state or county says (or even implies) that federal firearm laws do not apply to them, then the answer is no; federal law stays in effect everywhere. But in accordance with the Tenth Amendment, states can lawfully choose not to implement federal laws, and that is a major part of what makes Second Amendment sanctuaries successful.

In 2013, Kansas established the Second Amendment Protection Act. This act prohibited state and local organizations from executing federal gun laws, in accordance with the Tenth Amendment. Despite this, federal authorities and prosecutors still took legal action against two men in Kansas in 2019 for selling a suppressor.

So what does all this mean? Well, simply put, if you live in a county that has a Second Amendment Sanctuary movement in place, you CANNOT rest easy. What happened to Columbia County Oregon can happen anywhere. Now that you know that, you’ll probably want to know whether you live in a county with the Second Amendment Santuary measure.


Utah made history in February 2010 when it became the first state to pass a law protecting Second Amendment rights. This piece of legislation, known as the Utah State-made Firearms Protection Act, states that the federal government has no power to manage firearms produced and sold within the state. 

Sixteen other states have since enacted similar laws, including: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, West Virginia and Wyoming.


In twelve states, even though there are no Second Amendment sanctuary laws at the state level, a majority of their counties have been designated as Second Amendment sanctuaries. This applies to Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Virginia and Washington.

Washington is distinct from the other twelve states due to its Second Amendment sanctuary counties fighting against both state and federal gun laws. Twenty-three sheriffs in the state have declared their refusal to abide by Washington’s I-1639 law, which raised the age for buying semi-automatic rifles to 21 and necessitated background checks for people wishing to purchase them.


In thirteen states, only a small number of counties have declared themselves as Second Amendment sanctuaries, despite there being no statewide resolutions on the topic. These states include Alabama, California, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Most of the counties in these states have not created such sanctuary policies.


There are eight states that have not adopted Second Amendment sanctuary declarations at either a state or local level. This includes Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont. The majority of these states have traditionally had strict policies when it comes to Second Amendment rights.

So now that you know all that, what should you do? I suggest you move to any of the states where majority of the counties have Second Amendment Sanctuary laws.

And we’ve reached the end of this article. If you like more updates on this topic, or if you want any other content related to pistol grips or the ATF, let us know by commenting below.

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