Sheriff Calls 2A Sanctuaries Example Of "Hug-A-Thug" Mentality

AP Photo/Rick Bowmer

The purpose of a Second Amendment Sanctuary is simple: to ensure that no unconstitutional gun control laws will be enforced against those within the “sanctuary,” whether it’s a town, county, or a state. It’s not about going soft on criminals, but ensuring that responsible gun owners aren’t turned into criminals by enforcing laws that violate their right to keep and bear arms.


It’s not a difficult concept to grasp, but there are still some folks out there who view Second Amendment Sanctuaries as a solution in search of a problem, like Sheriff Britton Ferrell in Mississippi County, Missouri, who blames the state’s new Second Amendment Preservation Act for a recent shooting at a car show in his county.

The gunshots sent the crowd of more than 1,000 people running for safety, forcing some families to take cover in ditches. Sheriff Ferrell said some parents and children were even separated during the scare adding to the panic.

The injured spectators were hit in the eye, forearm, back, and hand. The sheriff says the victims were driven to the hospital in their personal vehicles and are recovering.

He said his deputies and a Missouri Highway Patrol member did an outstanding job securing the scene and keeping people safe.

Officials say they found 26 shell casings and a .9mm gun at the scene. Sheriff Ferrell called this kind of behavior unacceptable.

He also had a message for state politicians about the recent passage of the Second Amendment Preservation Act (SAPA).

He said they should rethink legislation they are passing in Jefferson City because it affects real people.

“But with Missouri’s recent campaign of a ‘hug-a-thug’ mentality and enacting legislation like SAPA, telling criminals it is ok to be bad but while at the same time telling law enforcement we will get fired fined, or suspended, or prosecuted for protecting our communities, that is unacceptable,” said Sheriff Ferrell.


That’s such a gross misreading of SAPA that I’m not sure if Sheriff Ferrell is simply confused about what the statute says or if he’s intentionally lying about the law. There’s nothing within the Second Amendment Preservation Act that is soft on criminals, nor does the law state that police can be fired, fined, suspended, or prosecuted for protecting communities. Instead, the Second Amendment Preservation Act makes clear that if a law enforcement officer “knowingly deprives” a citizen of their Second Amendment rights by enforcing unconstitutional gun control laws, they can be held accountable in a court of law.

Any political subdivision or law enforcement agency that employs a law enforcement officer who acts knowingly, as defined under section 562.016, to violate the provisions of section 1.450 or otherwise knowingly deprives a citizen of Missouri of the rights or privileges ensured by Amendment II of the Constitution of the United States or Article I, Section 23 of the Constitution of Missouri while acting under the color of any state or federal law shall be liable to the injured party in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress, and subject to a civil penalty of fifty thousand dollars per occurrence. Any person injured under this section shall have standing to pursue an action for injunctive relief in the circuit court of the county in which the action allegedly occurred or in the circuit court of Cole County with respect to the actions of such individual. The court shall hold a hearing on the motion for temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction within thirty days of service of the petition.


There’s nothing in the Second Amendment Preservation Act that’s stopping Sheriff Ferrell from going after violent criminals, and in fact two people have been arrested and charged with the shooting at the car show in his county, which would indicate that SAPA isn’t standing in the way of law enforcement officers doing their jobs.

I get that Ferrell isn’t happy with SAPA’s removal of qualified immunity for his deputies if they were to infringe on the rights of Mississippi County residents, but that doesn’t mean that the new law is soft on criminals or unduly hard on police. SAPA’s intent is to make the federal government enforce any new gun control measures on its own without relying on the cooperation of state and local law enforcement agencies. There’s nothing “hug-a-thug” about the Second Amendment Preservation Act, unless the sheriff considers law-abiding gun owners to be thugs. If that’s the case, voters in Mississippi County need to replace Ferrell with a candidate who understands the difference between exercising a civil right and committing a violent crime.

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