Supervisors in Mojave County, Arizona unanimously voted on Monday to declare the county a “Second Amendment Sanctuary” in a public meeting that drew dozens of supporters (and little opposition) to the county commission chambers. The measure, proposed by the board Chairwoman Hildy Angius won’t change any laws in Mojave County, but she and other supporters hope it does send a message.
“(The resolution) is nothing legally binding,” Angius reiterated at the meeting. “It’s a statement by a government entity about something we feel strongly about. It’s not a law or an ordinance – it’s a resolution of support. We have the support of the Sheriff, and if it ever gets to the point where the courts would have to get involved because of gun laws implemented by the feds or the state, we would step up and fight them.”
I wish that the resolution had offered some specific examples of laws that would be considered unconstitutional, but I suppose the county could always clarify if need be. The local sheriff drew a few lines in the sand during his testimony.
Mohave County Sheriff Doug Schuster spoke in support of the resolution Monday morning, assuring the board and members of the audience that he has, and would continue to uphold the rights of county residents.
“Myself and my staff swore an oath to defend the rights of people that were bestowed upon them by the U.S. Constitution and the Arizona Constitution,” Schuster said. “I’m an ardent supporter of the Second Amendment. There will always be a need to regulate the use of firearms for the safety and security of our communities – however, the rights of our citizens to carry firearms will, God willing, never be infringed … The day they outlaw guns is the day your sheriff becomes an outlaw.
Support for the resolution was strongly evident during the meeting, with even the one individual publicly opposed the measure not basing her argument on an anti-gun point of view.
Mohave County Democratic Party Chairwoman Mary McCord Robinson also spoke at the meeting, and was the one member of the public to oppose the resolution – not because she disagreed with it, she said, but because she believes county residents should have a better understanding of what the term, “sanctuary,” means in the context of gun rights.
“I’m a gun owner,” Robinson said. “I own lots of guns, I carry concealed and I have my permit. What I’m opposed to is bringing (the resolution) forward at this time. I think there needs to be more discussion, and there needs to be a better understanding of the issue. I don’t think people really understand what it means to be a sanctuary city … and I don’t think Mohave County is at risk against ‘red flag’ laws. (The resolution) adds more divisiveness that we don’t need right now.”
I think the term “sanctuary” in this case is meant to be a direct corollary to “sanctuary cities” that refuse to cooperate with federal authorities to enforce immigration laws. To me, a “Second Amendment Sanctuary” is, in essence, a declaration that the community will not cooperate with federal or state authorities in enforcing laws that infringe on the right to keep and bear arms. I don’t think that adds to any divisiveness, or at least that’s not the intent. The intent is to put anti-gun politicians on notice that they might pass gun control laws, but that doesn’t mean they can or will be enforced.
It wouldn’t surprise me to see more counties in Arizona declare themselves “Second Amendment Sanctuaries”, but I’m also interested to see if any Virginia counties do the same, particularly if anti-gun politicians win control of the legislature in Tuesday’s elections. So far the “Second Amendment Sanctuary” movement has taken place largely west of the Mississippi (though there have been several communities in Rhode Island that have passed resolutions), but if Virginia’s legislature flips, we may quickly see many of the state’s rural counties declare themselves Second Amendent Sancturies as a warning to lawmakers in Richmond. Frankly, no matter where it happens, we know it won’t be long before another county or town becomes a safe haven for the Second Amendment. The movement continues to grow, and shows no real sign of slowing down in the near future.