The Nation Against Politicians on Gun Rights
Written by C. Mitchell Shaw
From the print edition of The New American:
As the Left pushes harder and harder for civilian disarmament under the euphemistic title of “commonsense gun control,” individuals, communities, cities, counties, and entire states are pushing back. The result may be that liberal Democrats — who have enjoyed the media-inspired backlash against President Donald Trump — may soon find that they have been digging their own political graves.
In fact, Virginia — which is under Democratic control for the first time in a generation, thanks to the efforts of pro-Chinese communists — the pushback from citizens all over the state has led 91 out of 95 counties, 15 out of 38 independent cities, and 33 towns to declare themselves “Second Amendment Sanctuaries.” That amounts to about 95 percent of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Clearly, Governor Ralph Northam and his fellow Democrats in the General Assembly do not have the gun-control “mandate” they pretend.
As the main cover-story article shows, scores of thousands of Virginians from all over the state showed up in Richmond on Monday, January 20, to show Northam and the Democrat-led General Assembly that they expect the right to keep and bear arms to remain uninfringed. Many of them carried poster-board signs showing a map of Virginia with vast liberty-loving parts of the state highlighted in green. Residents of the Birthplace of a Nation are standing up to be counted. And while the state legislature is thus far ignoring them, their local officials are standing with them.
Almost as soon as the 2019 elections were over and it was clear that Democrats had taken control of Virginia, those Democrats began making it clear that they would follow through on campaign promises to dial back the right to keep and bear arms in the Old Dominion. As those bills started to come forward, local municipalities began responding to the threat of civilian disarmament. In one meeting after another, city councils, town councils, and county councils heard from residents about the idea of becoming a “Second Amendment Sanctuary.”
Before the Democratic revolutionists could even take office, towns, cities, and counties across the state declared they would not recognize or enforce any unconstitutional gun laws passed by the General Assembly. Within a mere six weeks, more than 40 counties had adopted Second Amendment-protecting resolutions. That trend continued after those Democrats were sworn in, leading to the 95 percent mentioned above. A large number of Virginia’s sheriffs have made that same point.
One such sheriff, Scott Jenkins of Culpeper County, went so far as to say that, if needed, he will “properly screen and deputize thousands of our law-abiding citizens to protect their constitutional right to own firearms.” As deputies, those citizens would be considered “law enforcement” and would be exempt from the anti-gun laws.
And Virginia is far from alone on this issue. Nearly half the states in the nation have pockets of Second Amendment Sanctuaries, and several states are covered in them. And in past years, whole states have declared themselves Second Amendment friendly.
Colorado, for instance, is comprised of 64 counties. In response to anti-Second Amendment laws passed in that state — including so-called red flag laws that would strip the right to keep and bear arms from people not convicted of any crime — 38 of those have recently adopted resolutions declaring themselves “Second Amendment Sanctuaries.” Three cities and three towns have done likewise.
Over the past two months, 24 of Florida’s 67 counties, one city, and one town have followed suit, with more counties, cities, and townships considering coming on board. Again, a major element fueling the movement is the passage of red flag laws. As gunrightswatch.com reported:
Florida’s Second Amendment Sanctuary movement has plodded on, county by county, since November 5th when Lake County became the first to declare. With red flag repossessions happening at a furious pace, the march doesn’t seem to be slowing.
The real issue at stake in Florida is the state’s egregious Red Flag law, which so far is responsible for the unconstitutional theft of thousands of firearms from gun owners across the state. These RPO’s have been granted for such crimes as posting a photo of a recently completed AR-15 on social media and criticizing teenage gun control activists, or for having an argument with a family member. Having your guns taken away in Florida means that you can’t obtain a court-appointed lawyer (since you’re not accused of any crime) and appealing the decision takes an average of 12 months or more.
To make matters worse, the system is rigged against gun owners, such that at least 95% of all RPO’s that get submitted wind up getting granted — typically within minutes and often with no questions asked. In the RPO-frenzy county of Volusia, one police officer reported that they take an average of only 20 seconds to go through.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, the Florida Senate, led by an anti-gun Republican Senate President, has just voted for universal background checks and a gun registry. The more sensible Speaker of The House and Governor are said to be alarmed by their actions.
And in response to similar anti-gun legislation in Illinois, 67 of the state’s 102 counties, two cities, and three townships have made themselves Second Amendment Sanctuaries.
The mention of Illinois brings up an interesting point. That state’s largest city, Chicago, holds two distinctions where guns are concerned: First, Chicago has historically had some of the strictest gun laws in the nation. And while that has changed over recent years, the process for legally obtaining a gun is still lengthy. Second, Chicago has the most shootings of any city in America. In fact, in 2018, the city congratulated itself on the decline in shootings, when that number dropped nearly 33 percent to a still-staggering 2,391.
If nearly seven people per day can get themselves shot in a city where the process for legally owning a gun requires a lengthy background check and paying fees for the right to keep and bear arms, this writer feels no risk in saying gun-control laws are not the answer. And to put in the for-what-it’s-worth column, the decline in gun violence in Chicago seems to coincide with the slight loosening of gun-control laws due to court decisions over the past few years.
Due to pre-filed legislation similar to that in Virginia and other states, Kentucky has seen Second Amendment Sanctuary resolutions passed in 47 of its 120 counties and two of its cities. The trend there was also on the fast track. In only the two and a half weeks between December 16 and January 3, 12 of those 47 counties passed their resolutions.
The list goes on and on. Ten of Nevada’s 16 counties have joined the movement, with all 17 sheriffs (Carson City has its own sheriff, in addition to those of the 16 counties) signing a public letter saying they support the right to keep and bear arms. That letter begins:
The United States Constitution is the foundation upon which this great country of ours is built. It is what binds us together as one people. The Sheriffs of the State of Nevada are Constitutional Officers, sworn to uphold the Constitutions of this state and this country.
The letter goes on to address the issues raised by gun-control advocates before stating:
The Sheriffs of the State of Nevada do not believe that the answer to this issue includes making criminals out of otherwise law-abiding citizens. As the old saying goes, “When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.” The answer lies within a myriad of approaches including education, addressing violence, keeping firearms out of the hands of the mentally ill, criminal gang members and illegal controlled substance users, as well as prosecuting and incarcerating those who use firearms to commit crimes.
While there are certainly those who believe these rights under the Constitution are soon to be lost, we believe a systematic, logical approach to the issue is warranted and will work to preserve these rights. The Sheriffs of the State of Nevada are here to enforce the laws and uphold the Constitutions of this state and this country. We will do so with all persons, while still protecting our Second Amendment freedoms.
The Second Amendment is important to us, and we as Sheriffs will uphold all that it stands for. We will work within the law and not succumb to perceived threats, rumor, false or malicious information to weight our decision-making process. We as Nevada Sheriffs support The Right to Bear Arms, and we will do all within our power to uphold and defend its principles.
In New Mexico, a substantial 26 of the state’s 33 counties were joined by one town in passing Second Amendment Sanctuary resolutions to protect the rights of residents to keep and bear arms. Thirty of the state’s 33 sheriffs signed a public letter by the New Mexico Sheriffs Association promising to not assist in enforcing unconstitutional gun control.
Other states are quickly coming on board. In fact, things are moving so quickly that by the time this magazine goes to print and ships, these numbers will likely be outdated. North Carolina has 22 of its 100 counties as sanctuaries. In Oregon, it is 14 of 36. Tiny Rhode Island has 10 of 31. Sixteen of Tennessee’s 95 counties have done likewise, as has one town. In the state of Texas, the number is 58 out of 254 counties, one city, and one town.
As The New American covered in a previous article, Washington State was an early adopter. In the wake of the passage of Initiative 1639 — approved by a low-information majority of the state’s residents in a popular vote — one sheriff after another has stood up for the people, the federal Constitution, and the state constitution. They publicly declared that I-1639 was unconstitutional and that their oaths of office require them to ignore it. Period. In all, more than half of the sheriffs in Washington State declared I-1639 nullified in their counties.
Those sheriffs were joined by one brave police chief, Loren Culp in the aptly named town of Republic, Washington, who is now running for governor. Because of his stand, Culp was also named “Police Chief of the Decade” by the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association (CSPOA), a pro-Constitution police group headed by retired Graham County, Arizona, Sheriff Richard Mack.
In an interview for a previous article on this subject, Chief Culp echoed the sentiments of many others about gun-control laws disarming the law-abiding, telling The New American, “Gun-control laws infringe only on the law-abiding citizens. Criminals don’t obey laws; that’s what makes them criminals.” He also said his stand against unconstitutional anti-gun laws is based in the principle of America being “a republic, where the minority is protected by law.”
Besides the states listed above, others have had a smaller, but not insignificant turnout for the Second Amendment. One of Arizona’s 15 counties and one city have passed resolutions to declare the Second Amendment alive and well there. Two of Georgia’s 159 counties are on board. One of 92 counties in Indiana has stood up against the assault on the Second Amendment. In Maryland, two of 23 counties have done the same.
Michigan has one of 83 counties and one township on board. Mississippi has seen three of its 82 counties pass resolutions. In West Virginia, six of 55 counties and one town have passed similar resolutions. And one county and one city in Wisconsin have done the same.
There are some surprise members of the Second Amendment Sanctuary club, as well. One county, four townships, and three boroughs in New Jersey have bucked the liberal establishment there to pass resolutions supporting the Second Amendment’s guarantee of the right to keep and bear arms.
And in liberal New York, one out of 62 counties and one town have adopted resolutions against some gun control in response to the 2013 passage of the misnamed SAFE Act. And while that legislation and the pro-Second Amendment reaction of that one county and one town predate the recent slate of Second Amendment resolutions, Wyoming County and Grand Island Town deserve their membership cards.
Likewise Needles City, California, is the single city in that Left Coast state to stand up for the right of the people to keep and bear arms. Needles City passed its Second Amendment Sanctuary resolution back in June 2019, making it something like a charter member.
Also predating the recent slate of pro-Second Amendment resolutions, there are several states that belong on the list as charter members of the Second Amendment Sanctuary club. Between 2009 and 2014, Alaska, Idaho, Kansas, and Wyoming all passed state laws protecting the God-given, Second Amendment-protected right of the people to keep and bear arms.
Alaska’s law — the Alaska Firearms Freedom Act (HB 186), signed by Governor Sean Parnell in July 2010 — declares certain firearms and accessories as exempt from federal regulation. It was amended in September 2013, when Governor Parnell signed HB69. That amendment expanded the law to prohibit “state and municipal agencies from using assets to implement or aid in the implementation of the requirements of certain federal statutes, regulations, rules, and orders that are applied to infringe on a person’s right to bear arms or right to due process” as well as “implementation of the federal REAL ID Act of 2005.”
Idaho’s SB 1332 — signed into law by Governor Butch Otter in March 2014 — along with 2009’s HJM 3, also effectively nullifies federal laws that may infringe on the right to keep and bear arms.
In Kansas, Governor Sam Brownback signed the Second Amendment Protection Act in April 2014, citing the 10th Amendment as granting Kansas the authority to nullify unconstitutional federal laws. It then goes on to apply that principle to federal laws infringing on the right of the people to keep and bear arms.
And in March 2010, Governor Dave Freudenthal signed the Wyoming Firearms Freedom Act. That law — HB0095 — provides “that specified firearms that are manufactured, sold, purchased, possessed and used exclusively within Wyoming shall be exempt from federal regulation, including registration requirements; providing exceptions; creating offenses; providing penalties; authorizing the attorney general to defend specified actions; providing legislative findings and declarations of authority; establishing conditions for the possession and purchase of specified firearms; and providing for an effective date.”
The sum and substance of all of these laws, resolutions, and declarations by state legislatures; county, city, and town councils; and sheriffs is that though the anti-gun Left will continue to push for disarming the people, the right to keep and bear arms will not be allowed to be infringed. States, counties, cities, and towns will push back and defend that right.
As policymakers on the left continue to make their push, they also reveal their bent toward the “Philosopher King” mentality of Plato’s Utopian city Kallipolis from his Republic. It is evermore clear that they see themselves as the “Ruling Elite” whose job it is to keep us mere mortals in our place. Given the rising tide of Americans who resist that thinking, this issue may prove to be a bridge too far, and those Americans may turn out en masse to turn Democrats out in upcoming elections.
This article originally appeared in the February 17, 2020 print edition of The New American. The New American publishes a print magazine twice a month, covering issues such as politics, money, foreign policy, environment, culture, and technology. To subscribe, click here.
Courtesy of The New American