Gun owners and Second Amendment supporters in Brown County, Wisconsin have a simple message for legislators in the state: “Don’t do what Virginia is doing.”
Several dozen supporters of a Second Amendment Sanctuary resolution turned out to support the language at the Brown County board of supervisors meeting on Monday, where the Green Bay Press-Gazette reports the resolution received the unanimous backing of the board, but not before they made some changes.
The board’s Executive Committee voted 7-0 to recommend the county proclaim its intent to oppose future legislation the county deems would infringe on residents’ right to keep and bear arms.
The committee also recommend the county declare itself a “Second Amendment Sanctuary.” But members removed controversial — and possibly illegal — language that said the sheriff could refuse to enforce future gun-control laws if he deemed them unconstitutional.
David Hemery, the county’s chief legal officer, said such a measure likely would have violated supervisors’ oaths of office.
The language that was stripped from the resolution is a little different than what we’ve seen in most Second Amendment Sanctuary resolutions that have passed in Virginia in recent months. The vast majority of resolutions in Virginia have expressed the desire by county supervisors to not spend any public resources on enforcing unconstitutional gun control laws, but doesn’t actually direct the sheriff to not enforce any law.
The weaker resolution was proposed by Board Chairman Patrick Moynihan Jr. It’s a compromise between the wishes of board members who wanted to protect residents against what they fear will be attempts by the state or federal government to improperly limit gun-ownership rights, and those concerned that it would be improper to try to direct a sheriff, elected by the voters, to not enforce a law that might or might not be enacted in the future.
Supervisor Steve Deslauriers of Hollandtown proposed the sanctuary measure in December, saying that further tightening of gun laws threatens to take “the most-effective weapon away” from someone who might need a gun for self defense.
“What this is is a strong message to legislators to not do what Virginia is doing,” said Deslauriers, a gun-owner. “It’s counter to the Constitution … anyone who thinks the Second amendment is not under attack is naive.”
In Wisconsin, Governor Tony Evers has been pushing for lawmakers to pass several gun control bills, including a “red flag” proposal that would allow courts to strip gun owners of their right to keep and bear arms before they ever get their day in court. Brown County’s resolution, which is expected to be approved when supervisors meet on January 15th, doesn’t specifically mention the red-flag proposal, but is seen by supporters as a way of pushing back on the governor’s idea.
If Brown County does approve the resolution, they’ll be the second 2A Sanctuary in the state. Florence County was the first to adopt a similar resolution back in November, and there are rumblings that other counties could soon take up resolutions of their own.
Meanwhile, the Second Amendment Sanctuary movement continues to grow in Virginia, with the city of Virginia Beach approving a pro-2A resolution on Monday night as thousands of supporters packed the city council chambers and spilled out of the building onto the front law. On Virginia’s Eastern Shore, council members in Chincoteague also voted unanimously to declare the town a a Second Amendment Sanctuary at its meeting Monday night. As Shore Daily News notes, the vote puts more political pressure on the local state Senator.
Ironically the local decisions may put Senator Lynwood Lewis in the center of negotiations to come up with legislation that will satisfy gun control Democrats but at the same time fall short of confiscating or outlawing certain types of weapons. Lewis represents both rural Accomack and Northampton counties and urban areas of Norfolk. Even though Democrats now control the legislature by a narrow margin, passage of Northam’s recommendations may hinge on delegates and senators whose districts include rural areas which oppose the strict proposals.
Virginia gun owners are going to keep up the pressure, as 2A supporters around the nation keep up the momentum for Second Amendment Sanctuaries. While there are now hundreds of counties, cities, and towns that have joined the movement, I expect hundreds more will follow between now and Election Day in November.