Garden State 2A Grassroots Organization leading charge in NJ on sanctuary movement

Members of GS2AGO Gloucester County Resolution Signing April 6, 2022 (eft to right): Mark Cheeseman, Jennifer Moore, Rick Chow, Michelle Beartie-Kacy, Commissioner Nick DeSilvio, Joseph Pistilli, Sandy Hickerson, & Dave Padua

If we dig deep in our memory banks to a time prior to the virus which shall not be named, we’ll recall a movement that was sweeping many counties and towns, in many states across the country. Conceivably started in Virginia in response to extreme hostility towards the Second Amendment, the 2A sanctuary movement got momentum. The topic of so-called Second Amendment sanctuaries has been picked apart time and time again. With some “sanctuaries” being symbolic in nature, and others actually carrying the weight of the law. New Jersey, believe it or not, has a solid number of jurisdictions that have committed themselves as sanctuaries. In the winter of 2018 a group was born, the Garden State 2A Grassroots Organization (GS2AGO), and they’ve been carrying the banner on this movement all up and down the Parkway.

From the GS2AGO webpage:

Garden State 2A Grassroots Organization (GS2AGO) is a non-profit, non-partisan, NJ-based advocacy group that helps NJ residents defend our Second Amendment rights in the state.  Our objective is to turn each county into a grassroots hub to defend our right to keep and bear arms.  We provide resolution kits, education, advocacy and information about NJ firearms laws.

The resolution is based on case law, and fosters awareness and support for the 2nd Amendment community in NJ. By working with our local governments to adopt the resolutions, We The People send a clear message to our state government that we will defend our rights.

By defending the right to keep and bear arms, we advocate for the most fundamental rights of all people for self-defense and freedom. Firearms rights are equal rights. Firearms rights are civil rights. The Second Defends The Rest. ​

Truth be told, I’ve been quietly following the GS2AGO since they got on the map towards the end of 2018, and have reported different times about their happenings. The “pandemic” came and it seemed like all activity halted. In reality, it kind of did. With a new spring of life, and this generation’s roaring 20’s starting to commence, GS2AGO has been at it again. In March, I reported on one of the resolutions they supported. I found it difficult to keep up with where they were going to be next or what was actually happening. It was time for me to get their president on the phone.

Rick Chow Sr. is a Jersey guy through and through. He and I chatted for over an hour, and it was nice to get to know a fellow Garden State patriot. Chow indicated to me that the inception of GS2AGO came about when one town council randomly introduced a resolution on the Second Amendment on their own. He wondered if there would be more towns in the pork roll paradise to do the same. After getting active, here we are, a few years later, with about 1/3rd (or more) of the state having a Second Amendment resolution on their books.

Chow talked about stumbling on the social media post that ignited this movement:

West Milford passes this resolution, so I got the idea; “Hey, let’s get together and see if we can do that elsewhere in the state.” So initially, it was myself and Mark [Cheeseman], and then Nick Magner got aboard…within a couple days, a week’s time we added Sandy [Hickerson]. We added Josh…We were working over Christmas holiday, over through New Year’s holiday, and helping people get pages set up. That’s how all this got started.

I asked Chow about where the organization is now and what their challenges are.

You know, we’re volunteers ourselves. Nobody within the organization is paid. So we had representatives all over the state that were helping me. They were helping out with county pages and getting events set up and going into town meetings, and now we’re down to six people. And it’s horrible, because we can’t be in every place all the time. You know…The other biggest hurdle, obviously, is always donations. We have applied for 501 C three. And we’re waiting on paperwork back from the Federal Government. That’s holding us up on that. They have accepted the application, but we haven’t gotten a “yea” or “nay” yet on that. But those are the two biggest things right now holding us back to do what we need…

To date, Chow notes that just under half of all the counties in New Jersey has some sort of a resolution in support of the Second Amendment, and many towns as well. My count is there’s over 60 different jurisdictions in the state that have put out their public support for this civil right through the local legislative process.

The work that Chow and his team at GS2AGO does has value. Seemingly symbolic in nature, these resolutions in support of the Second Amendment do have meaning. In states like New Jersey where many of the legislators are controlled by partisan politics, and progressive ones at that, more often than not, they don’t listen to the masses. The Garden State has had lawmakers brag about getting hundreds, if not thousands of messages in opposition of a bill that they vote for regardless, while only receiving a few in support of the measure. Hubris and elitism rules in progressive states like Jersey. 

These resolutions do send another message to the lawmakers that’s hard to ignore. They can shred letters, ignore emails, and be dismissive towards phone calls. But when there are resolutions being voted on, they can’t exactly hide from those. It’s all on the record and they’re going to be hard pressed to be able to say “I did not know.”

If you’d like to learn more about the Garden State 2A Grassroots Organization (GS2AGO), you can check them out HERE: https://www.gs2ago.com/