A rapidly growing number of counties in at least four states are declaring themselves Second Amendment sanctuaries, refusing to enforce gun-control laws that they consider to be infringements on the U.S. constitutional right to keep and bear arms.
Organizers of the pro-gun sanctuaries admit they took the idea from liberals who have created immigration sanctuaries across the United States where local officials defy the Trump administration’s efforts to enforce tougher immigration laws.
Now local conservatives are rebelling against majority Democratic rule in the states. Elected sheriffs and county commissioners say they might allow some people deemed to be threats under “red flag” laws to keep their firearms. In states where the legal age for gun ownership is raised to 21, authorities in some jurisdictions could refuse to confiscate guns from 18- to 20-year-olds.
Democrats took control of state governments or widened leads in legislative chambers last November, then followed through on promises to enact gun control in response to an epidemic of mass shootings in public spaces, religious sites and schools.
Resistance to those laws is complicating Democratic efforts to enact gun control in Washington, Oregon, New Mexico and Illinois, even though the party holds the governorship and both chambers of the state legislature in all four states.
“If they want to have their own laws, that’s fine. Don’t shove them on us down here,” said Dave Campbell, a member of the board of Effingham County, Illinois, about 215 miles (350 km) south of Chicago.
Governor Jay Inslee has firmly backed I-1639 and Attorney General Bob Ferguson has advised sheriffs “they could be held liable” if they allow a dangerous person to acquire a firearm later used to do harm.
Sheriff Bob Songer of Klickitat County, population 22,000, called Ferguson’s warning a “bluff” and said he would not enforce I-1639 because he considered it unconstitutional.
“Unfortunately for the governor and the attorney general, they’re not my boss. My only boss is the people that elected me to office,” Songer said.
Support for Second Amendment sanctuaries has gained momentum in recent weeks, especially among county boards in New Mexico and Illinois.
Sixty-three counties or municipalities in Illinois have passed some form of a firearms sanctuary resolution and more are likely to, Campbell said.
Twenty-five of New Mexico’s 33 counties have passed resolutions to support sheriffs who refuse to enforce any firearms laws that they consider unconstitutional, according to the New Mexico Sheriffs Association. In some cases hundreds of pro-gun activists have packed county commissioner meetings.
In Oregon, voters in eight counties approved Second Amendment Preservation Ordinances last November that allow sheriffs to determine which state gun laws to enforce.
© 2019 Thomson/Reuters. H/T Newsmax.com