- Associated Press - Friday, August 22, 2014

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - A judge has ruled that residents who challenged a Multnomah County gun control ordinance have no grounds to sue to block the regulations.

Judge Kathleen Dailey ruled Thursday that one of the opponents was in no danger of being arrested for having a gun because leaders in his town had voted to resist the measure.

After county commissioners made it illegal last year to possess a loaded gun in public anywhere in the county - with some exceptions - five residents went to court to argue that the county couldn’t impose the ordinance within city limits unless city councils agreed.

The ordinance bans firing a gun anywhere in the county and requires gun owners to take precautions to keep their weapons out of the hands of minors. It allows concealed weapons permit-holders, hunters and a few other groups to possess a loaded gun in public.

Those opposed to the law argued if municipalities didn’t agree to the rules, they should apply only in unincorporated areas. Some city officials in eastern Multnomah County agreed.

The night before the lawsuit went to trial in July, members of the Troutdale City Council passed a measure asserting their right to ignore county ordinances.

Dailey ruled that the five plaintiffs, for a variety of reasons, were in no danger of arrest, so there was no “actionable or justiciable controversy.”

One plaintiff, Frank Grande, lives in Troutdale, and Dailey cited the city’s action.

“Plaintiff Frank Grande is a resident of Troutdale which, prior to trial, has passed an ordinance on the subject matter and, therefore, he is not subject to the Firearms Law,” the decision said.

The lawyer for Grande and the other plaintiffs, Bruce McCain, said he was disappointed Dailey didn’t rule on the county’s scope of power.

“The county won, but in a way nobody won, because the judge never addressed the substantive issue of whether the county could impose its will on cities,” he said.

McCain said he hopes city leaders within Multnomah County take up the issue.

“It’ll be up to the cities to defend their own residents against what I still see as the county’s unconstitutional encroaching in city business,” he said.

County leaders enacted the ordinance to address gun violence in the wake of shootings at Clackamas Town Center and Sandy Hook Elementary. County Chairwoman Deborah Kafoury praised the ruling.

“As its core mission, the county is responsible for protecting the health and safety of children and families,” she said.

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