Counties Becoming Second Amendment 'Sanctuaries'

FILE - In this Jan. 26, 2015 file photo, Scott Smith, a supporter of open carry gun laws, wears a pistol as he prepares for a rally in support of open carry gun laws at the Capitol, in Austin, Texas. Texas the second-most populous state, is joining 44 other states in allowing at least some firearm owners to carry handguns openly in public places. Under the Texas law, guns can be carried by those with licenses and only in holsters. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

As gun rights come under attack from liberal legislators around the United States, some counties are fighting back-  declaring themselves Second Amendment sanctuary cities.

Last week, the House approved legislation that would require background checks on all firearm sales, even between friends and family members. House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA), who was shot while practicing for the Congressional baseball game in 2017 and sustained life-threatening injuries, spoke against the legislation.

Scalise told The Hill this legislation will make it difficult for people to help others in dangerous situations. “For example, to loan a gun to a friend who is a victim of domestic violence who’s asking for help to borrow a gun to defend themselves, you can go to federal prison now for a practice as basic as that.”

To ensure that Americans can keep their constitutional right to keep and bear arms, local governments are pushing back, making it clear that they will not assist this federal infringement on the rights of citizens. They’ve taken a page from the liberal playbook and declared themselves sanctuary cities.

The only difference? These sanctuary cities are all about protecting the Constitution, not supporting lawlessness.

As of July 2018, 26 counties in western Illinois have passed “gun sanctuary” laws in which local officials pledged not to cooperate with state or federal gun laws they consider unconstitutional.

While western Illinois is a rural area where one might expect this, it was less expected in Washington state. In Republic, Washington, near the Canadian border, the Police Chief Loren Culp refused to enforce new state gun restrictions in July. The police chief said “The second amendment says the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. As long as I am Chief of Police, no Republic Police Officer will infringe on a citizens right to keep and Bear Arms, PERIOD!”

Mayor Elbert Koontz supported Culp, telling Fox News “Everybody in Republic has a gun. We don’t have a giant crime rate because nobody in their right mind would come to a house where people have guns and know how to use them.”

Earlier this year, Washington’s Attorney General Bob Ferguson warned law enforcement that all gun legislation would need to be enforced. Governor Inslee joined him, telling MyNorthwest “The law is going to be followed even if these sheriffs go AWOL and don’t do their jobs,” Inslee said. Culp remains undeterred. “I’m absolutely not worried about any threats from the governor or the AG,” he said in February.

As House and state-level Democrats steamroll the Second Amendment, gun sanctuaries are picking up steam, too.

Illinois’ 26 gun sanctuary counties in June has grown to 63 counties and municipalities. 25 of New Mexico‘s 33 counties have passed similar resolutions and eight counties in Oregon have voted to approve Second Amendment Preservation Ordinances.

In response to Colorado’s proposed “red flaglaw, which would allow firearms to be removed from those deemed to be at risk of harming themselves or others, Montezuma county declared themselves a gun sanctuary last week. Saying that the law violates due process as well as the second amendment, the county passed a resolution stating that they are “a Sanctuary County for the Constitutional right to bear and keep arms.”

However, County Sheriff Sheriff Steven Nowlin says that he will not support the resolution as his sworn duty is to uphold the law, whatever it may be. County Commissioner Dexter Gill said that their first duty is to the Constitution. “The legislature thinks that they can pass a law and that it therefore amends the U.S. Constitution, but it does not. We abide by the U.S. Constitution. State laws are under it and must be crafted to abide by it.”During the meeting in which the resolution was passed, The Journal reports, pro-gun statements were met with applause.

According to Reuters, there are now gun sanctuary counties in at least four states in reaction to background check, age, and red flag legislation. In some cases, it’s a case of rural counties telling the larger cities not to impose their choices statewide. “If they want to have their own laws, that’s fine. Don’t shove them on us down here,” Dave Campbell, a member of the board of Effingham County, Illinois, told Reuters.

Sheriff Bob Songer of Klickitat County, Washington, told Reuters that he’s not concerned with threats from state officials. “Unfortunately for the governor and the attorney general, they’re not my boss. My only boss is the people that elected me to office,” he said.

In the states in which these sanctuaries exist have now begun working with each other as well as with like-minded officials in California, New York, Iowa, and Idaho.