While the Second Amendment Sanctuary movement has made gains in rural counties and even red states like Texas, it’s pretty rare for the mayor of a good-sized city to publicly embrace a non-cooperation policy with the federal government in enforcing new gun laws. Most big-city mayors are Democrats, after all, and that party’s anti-gun attitudes are what led to the Second Amendment Sanctuary movement in the first place.
Well, the biggest city in the largest state in the Union is now a Second Amendment Sanctuary, and the mayor didn’t waste much time in making the change official.
Anchorage Mayor Dave Bronson launched his first term in public office Thursday by issuing a series of mayoral directives within hours of being sworn in, signaling his intent to lead the city in a more conservative direction.
The retired commercial and military pilot takes office as the city faces economic challenges and a homelessness crisis, both exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Bronson made criticizing the city’s handling of those issues central to his campaign. So far, he’s focusing his administration’s efforts primarily on homelessness and economic recovery.
“We’re here with the mission to serve the residents of Anchorage with integrity, a vision toward the future and a sincere motivation for the community we all love, and to do so with an open door and an open mind, working together across all walks of life, creeds, cultures, backgrounds and political affiliations to accomplish the goals of the city,” Bronson said at the ceremony.
Two hours after his inauguration, Bronson announced a set of four mayoral directives further outlining his priorities: economic recovery, streamlining city services, easing COVID-19 restrictions and declaring the city a “Second Amendment sanctuary municipality.”
In fact, the Second Amendment Sanctuary measure was the first directive issued by Bronson, and it declares that the city “shall stand as a Sanctuary jurisdiction and mandate no public funds or resources shall be used to restrict Second Amendment rights or aid in the unconstitutional restriction of these rights as preserved in the U.S. Constitution and the state of Alaska constitution as amended.”
While the directive doesn’t have the force of law, it sounds like it will be the official policy of the city as long as Bronson’s in charge. The mayor’s proclamation also follows a similar statement by Gov. Mike Dunleavy back in April declaring the state of Alaska to be a Second Amendment Sanctuary; taking aim specifically at California’s ban on so-called large capacity magazines, which is currently being challenged in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
“Alaska is a Second Amendment sanctuary state, and the State of Alaska constitution explicitly recognizes the individual right to bear arms. The 9th Circuit can try to eliminate the Second Amendment, but I won’t let that happen on my watch,” said Governor Mike Dunleavy. “We will be pursuing every legal recourse to fight these decisions, and intend to join with other states who support our constitutional right to bear arms.”
Another case that was recently decided by the 9th Circuit is Young v. Hawaii. This case effectively eviscerates the Second Amendment’s protection of the right to bear arms. The 9th Circuit has now determined that states can severely limit the ability to carry a firearm, openly or concealed, outside of the home.
Both the mayor’s directive and the governor’s comments back in April are important, but now it’s time for Alaska’s legislature to follow suit with an actual bill prohibiting state and local police from cooperating with federal officials in enforcing any new gun control laws or executive orders from the Biden administration. Unfortunately, that might be a tall order, given the odd makeup of the state legislature. Republicans have 13 seats in the 20-member state Senate, but a coalition of 15 Democrats, 4 independents, and one solitary Republican control the state House, with 19 other Republicans in the minority.
Still, given the fact that next year is an election year for the state House members, pushing for Second Amendment Sanctuary legislation may not only be good policy, but good politics as well. If I were advising Republicans in Alaska, I’d encourage them to pass a 2A Sanctuary bill out of the Senate and let the Democrats in the House deal with the consequences of telling voters that they’re actually fine with using state resources to enforce infringements on the right to keep and bear arms.