AP Photo/ Cheryl Senter
Bloomberg-backed gun control groups Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action are having a hard time coping with the stunning rise of the Second Amendment Sanctuary movement, to the point that they’re now objecting to Second Amendment Supporters using their First Amendment rights to oppose their anti-gun agenda.
The gun control organizations are now demanding sheriffs’ associations, county government associations, police chiefs, and possibly even Kevin, the guy that works at the Subway near Shannon Watts’ office, to denounce the Second Amendment Sanctuary movement itself.
These resolutions typically declare that the local board or sheriff intends to refuse their legal and constitutional responsibility to enforce democratically-enacted gun violence prevention laws passed by their state legislatures based on their own personal opinion as to whether the laws are constitutional. Despite holding no legal merit, these resolutions set a dangerous precedent and undermine the rule of law by encouraging law enforcement officials to refuse to enforce gun safety measures that they incorrectly and unilaterally consider unconstitutional. They also threaten the safety of communities nationwide by fostering distrust in law enforcement and may deter people from reporting individuals that may hurt themselves or others.
Of course the gun control groups have been supporting politicians who ignore democratically-enacted firearms preemption laws passed by their state legislatures based on their own personal opinion as to whether the laws are constitutional. They’re backing Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto and other cities that are putting their own local gun laws in place in violation of state law.
As for fostering distrust in law enforcement, the Second Amendment Sanctuary movement is actually doing the opposite. When sheriffs like Amelia County’s Ricky Walker say they’re not going to be seizing anyone’s guns under the guise of enforcing any of Ralph Northam’s gun laws, local residents cheer them on.
“These local officials may say they’re ‘defending the constitution,’ but they’re actually ripping it apart,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund. “Americans expect our sheriffs and law enforcement to uphold their oaths, respect the will of the people, and enforce the laws of their states — and that most definitely includes life-saving gun safety laws.”
“These so-called ‘Sanctuary Counties’ fly in the face of our Democratic norms and threaten to defy the will of the vast majority of Americans who support stronger gun laws,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. “The laws these localities are threatening to refuse to enforce, like red flag laws, have already been ruled constitutional — and have been proven to save lives. Instead of cutting them off at the knees, we should let law enforcement officers do their jobs and use every tool possible to keep families safe.”
Americans do not expect their law enforcement to enforce every law on the books. In fact, we expect that law enforcement will use its discretion in pursuit of justice. In Virginia, we already have many local prosecutors who aren’t enforcing some of the state’s drug laws without a word of protest from Democrats.
As for Watts’ claim that these laws have already been ruled constitutional, not in Virginia they haven’t, nor have they been ruled constitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court. These red flag laws also haven’t been “proven” to save lives, as an analyst for RAND Corporation recently pointed out. Even in states like Connecticut and Indiana, which have had “red flag” laws on the books for several years, suicides have actually increased with the laws in place.
“While its exponents are not all racist or anti-government extremists, the current push for ‘Second Amendment sanctuaries’ is predicated on a belief system that was pioneered by white supremacists in the early 1970’s and has been implicated in antigovernment and racially motivated violence,” said Howard Graves, Senior Research Analyst with the Southern Poverty Law Center. “Since the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, these groups have increasingly seen guns as the primary vehicle through which local populations will maintain white political and cultural hegemony.
Of course they have to say that the Second Amendment Sanctuary movement is full of racists, and hearkens back to “a belief system that was pioneered by white supremacists.” When they have nothing else, they accuse their opponents of racism, even when Virginians of all ethnicities and backgrounds are showing up to support their right to keep and bear arms. Check out this video of a gentleman named Gary Allbrook who recently spoke at the board of supervisors meeting in York County, Virginia.
Gary doesn’t seem like a white supremacist to me, but to the gun control groups opposed to the Second Amendment Sanctuary movement Mr. Allbrook must either harbor racist notions himself or be an unwitting tool of white supremacists. What the gun control advocates cannot acknowledge is that the gun control laws they want to put in place will send far more young black men to prison than rural white Virginians, at least if the history of New York’s SAFE Act is any indication of how Virginia’s new laws will play out. As Slate’s Emily Bazelon discovered when she spent two months in Brooklyn’s gun court, the War on Drugs that has put tens of thousands of young black men behind bars for non-violent crimes is being replaced thanks to groups like Everytown and Moms Demand Action.
Here’s what predicted who ended up on the benches in gun court: race and age. Black people are less likely to own guns than white people, but the defendants in gun court were almost all black teenagers and young men. An initiative that sounded like a targeted attack on America’s gun problem looked up close more like stop-and-frisk or the war on drugs—one more way to round up young black men. Reviewing my book in the New Yorker, Adam Gopnik suggested that a kid locked up for a drug offense would have made a more representative subject. But drug charges are the old way of shunting people to prison. Gun possession, and similar offenses that states treat as violent, is the new way. And the 20-year-old whose case I followed wasn’t “the wrong kid” from the point of view of the system or the politicians that built it. His case was typical in gun court, because he was exactly the kind of person the mayor’s plan was designed to ensnare.