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California City's Pro-2A Resolution More Sizzle Than Steak

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The Second Amendment Sanctuary movement is getting a lot of attention at the state level at the moment. In the past few months we’ve seen Texas, Oklahoma, and a number of other states pass legislation prohibiting cooperation with the federal government in enforcing any new gun control laws approved by the Biden administration, but a number of counties, cities, and towns are also embracing the idea, including in some territory that’s decidedly hostile to the right to keep and bear arms.

After delaying a vote for several weeks, council members in San Clemente, California decided to move ahead on a resolution declaring the city a Second Amendment Freedom City on Wednesday evening, though the final language falls short of what the resolution’s sponsor was hoping for.

Instead of adopting the moniker of a Second Amendment Sanctuary, city council members decided instead to approve a non-binding resolution expressing support for the right to keep and bear arms.

Councilwoman Laura Ferguson joined Councilman Gene James, who wrote the resolution, and Councilman Steve Knoblock, who supported James’ effort,  in passing the non-binding resolution, which means it is a symbolic gesture and doesn’t change local laws.

“I’m a big supporter of the Second Amendment,” Ferguson said.

But in voicing her support, she said, “I have an issue with the word sanctuary, it created a lot of panic in the community.”

Knoblock also voiced concern about the “sanctuary” label.

“The phrase has been hijacked in the last few years,” he said, proposing using the words “Freedom City” instead.

Ehh, I don’t think the phrase has been “hijacked.” I think Second Amendment Sanctuaries are merely adopting the language of the Left and their sanctuary cities for illegal immigrants. Just as those cities have vowed not to cooperate with federal immigration officials, 2A Sanctuaries typically declare that no public funds or resources shall be used to enforce any new federal gun control laws.

There’s nothing stopping the city from adopting that policy for themselves, but instead council members approved a toothless resolution that included support for gun control policies like universal background checks.

In addition, the resolution is supportive of background checks and encourages all firearm owners to complete safety training and ensure guns are safely stored. It also calls for gun owners to teach their children firearm safety. The resolution will now be sent to the California State legislature and to the governor.

Public comments were split nearly equally with 19 people speaking against the resolution and 18 in support.

Those in opposition called the resolution divisive and said it would make the city a sanctuary for gun owners and not for families as the town’s founder, Ole Hanson, intended.

“This will not help businesses. Many have told me they will not come to San Clemente and will take their business elsewhere,” one long-time resident said, saying this wasn’t a local issue. “I’m saddened this is up for discussion. It’s an embarrassment. Let San Clemente be known for the city it is, our seaside charm and small-town values.”

What’s embarrassing about the resolution isn’t the fact that council members wanted to express their support for the right to keep and bear arms, but the milquetoast language that they used. Instead of calling out some of California’s egregious violations of the Second Amendment, from the state’s ban on so-called assault weapons and large capacity magazines to the background check requirements for every ammunition purchase, the city council instead chose to pass a resolution that doesn’t find fault with a single gun control law in California statute.

Since I started covering the 2A Sanctuary movement back in 2018, I’ve read hundreds of resolutions and ordinances, and San Clemente’s is the most insipid that I’ve run across. I’m honestly less convinced that a majority of the council supports the right to keep and bear arms than if they’d just stayed silent and never brought up the resolution in the first place.

I suspect the city council was trying to please both those who embrace the right to keep and bear arms and those who want to curtail the exercise of that right, which led to the creation of a supposedly pro-2A document that advocates for background checks and gun storage requirements; while not objecting to the state’s restrictive carry laws that prevent the average citizen from bearing arms in self-defense, its ten day waiting period for gun sales, or its idiotic microstamping law that has blocked all new models of semi-automatic handguns from being sold in the state for over a decade.

I had such high hopes when I saw the headline at the East Bay Times that the San Clemente city council had approved a pro-2A measure, but the truth is that the resolution is nothing to celebrate. In fact, if this is the best that council members can come up with, they should be embarrassed to call themselves pro-Second Amendment in the first place.

Dec 04, 2021 11:30 AM ET