The continued shutdowns over coronavirus concerns are prompting some communities to take a stand in support of the right to keep and bear arms. In Washington, Cowlitz County officials are set to approve a resolution Tuesday calling on Gov. Jay Inslee to put an end to several of the restrictions in place thanks to his stay-at-home order. According to the language of the proposed resolution, the commissioners want residents to be able to hunt and fish, exercise their right to assemble and to take part in religious events, and buy and sell firearms and ammunition without fear of government sanction.
[Sheriff Brad] Thurman said he requested the commissioners adopt a resolution Tuesday requesting that Inslee rescind some of the proclamations mainly as a statement to citizens of where officials stand.
“If the orders are in place or not, its incumbent on people to understand the risk and behave appropriately,” he said. “It comes down to responsibility to protect themselves and others.”
According to Thurman, county commissioners have already sent letters to Inslee outlining their concerns with the current stay-at-home order, and the resolution would be a formal follow up to their requests. Last year, county commissioners approved a resolution opposing new gun control laws approved via a statewide referendum, but officials rejected the idea of declaring Cowlitz County a Second Amendment Sanctuary.
In Pennsylvania, meanwhile, the Montgomery Borough council decided to take that step at its last meeting, unanimously approving a resolution declaring the town to be a Second Amendment Sanctuary.
Jonathan DeWald, borough solicitor, said that the organization Gun Owners of America has been bringing the Second Amendment Sanctuary Ordinance template around to different municipalities, including Montgomery Borough. He added that this template essentially said that it would provide monetary fines and possible imprisonment for going against the sanctuary ordinance.
He said that the borough decided to adopt a resolution just to show support toward the Constitution and that the borough will not “expend funds for enforcement of laws deemed and determined to be illegal.”
“They elected not to do an ordinance, but a resolution to show support,” he said. “It’s a middle ground. It shows support but doesn’t obligate you to do anything further than that.”
The language approved by the council is watered-down compared to some of the resolutions and ordinances we’ve seen approved in hundreds of counties, cities, and towns across the country over the past two years, but it’s a good first step.
Horry County, South Carolina officials are also set to approve a Second Amendment Sanctuary ordinance at its meeting on Tuesday evening, and according to local news reports, it seems to have more teeth to it than the resolution approved by the Pennsylvania borough.
The ordinance states council is “concerned about the passage of any bill containing language which could be interpreted as infringing on the rights of citizens of Horry County to bear arms.”
The ordinance goes on to say council would protect the right to bear arms by way of “legal action, the power to appropriate public funds, the right to petition for redress of grievances, and the power to direct the law enforcement and employees of Horry County to not enforce any unconstitutional law.”
The longer these stay-at-home orders remain in place, and the more jurisdictions try to use those orders to force the closure of gun shops, the greater the odds that these types of resolutions will be approved by local governments. The coronavirus pandemic is a serious concern for these officials, but so too is the erosion of our constitutional rights.