The Second Amendment Sanctuary movement has been around for a few years, and we’ve seen several different waves of support in different parts of the country. In 2018, the movement seemed to be centered in and around Illinois, while many New Mexico counties adopted SAS resolutions in the early months of 2019. After Democrats took control of the Virginia legislature in November of last year, the movement spread like a wildfire across the state of Virginia with more than 100 counties and towns adopting resolutions that warned against trying to enforce unconstitutional gun control laws.
In recent months the Pacific Northwest has been ground zero for the movement, and Second Amendment activists in Oregon were able to put Second Amendment Sanctuary ordinances on the ballot in four Oregon counties. The ordinances won the approval of voters this week in Columbia and Umatilla counties, while the ballot measure was rejected in Clatsop and Coos counties (where local officials had campaigned against the proposal).
In Idaho, meanwhile, a growing number of towns are adopting resolutions of their own. In fact, the third largest city in the state passed its own resolution this week.
Nampa is the latest Idaho community to declare its intent to oppose any legislation and possibly defy any laws that may infringe upon Second Amendment gun rights.
The City Council voted unanimously for a resolution declaring Nampa a Second Amendment City. The resolution says in part, “The Mayor and City Council are opposed to any legislation that would infringe upon the right to keep and bear arms or ban the possession and use of any firearms now employed by the individual citizens of Nampa, for defense of life, liberty and property.”
The Nampa council on Monday directed its police department “specifically to exercise sound discretion to not enforce against any citizen any unconstitutional laws.”
While Nampa shied away from using the term “sanctuary,” the intent of the resolution is identical to the resolutions that we’ve seen in counties and towns that have adopted the moniker.
There is, however, one big difference between the movement in Idaho and Oregon, at least at the moment. In Idaho, city councils are passing resolutions, while the counties in Oregon actually put ordinances on the books that could punish county officials with misdemeanor charges for enforcing unconstitutional gun control laws. That’s obviously a much bigger step than approving a largely ceremonial resolution, and the ordinances are likely to face a court challenge if and when they’re ever enforced.
If Joe Biden is ultimately declared the winner of the 2020 presidential election, this week’s Second Amendment Sanctuary success could end up being a preview of another wave of support, and this time I don’t think the wave will be confined to one geographic part of the country. From Washington State to Maine, communities that back the Second Amendment are likely to respond to Democratic control of the White House by sending a message to D.C. Democrats- if you pass an unconstitutional gun control law, don’t count on us to enforce it.