(AP Photo/Alan Diaz)
One of the more controversial moves in recent years is the idea of “sanctuary cities,” communities that give the middle finger to the federal government when it comes to immigration law. Progressives hold up these communities as noble examples of resistance.
I wonder how they feel about the Illinois counties that have declared themselves sanctuaries of a very different sort.
Last week the Mercer County Board unanimously approved a measure to make the county the 30th gun sanctuary county in Illinois, The Dispatch-Argus reported. “We’re telling the state they cannot pass laws that impinge on our Second Amendment rights,” said Mercer County Board member Brian Anseeuw, R-New Windsor.
Described as largely symbolic, counties and cities across the state have moved since March to declare their local region a “sanctuary” for gun owners, starting with the Iroquois County Board. This came as a grassroots backlash against a package of gun control bills ranging from restricting those under age 21 from purchasing guns to bans on bump stocks and various licensing schemes for gun dealers that have seen success in the state legislature.
In addition, two other counties, Madison and Williamson, reportedly have plans to put the gun sanctuary question to voters in November. With almost a third of the state’s 102 counties doubling down on their support of gun rights, Second Amendment groups are encouraged.
Somehow, I doubt the typical sanctuary city fan will approve of this brand of sanctuary.
I tend to agree that this is largely symbolic, but it’s important symbolism. All too often, we tend to think of states based on their overall politics and forget that we have brothers and sisters in the fight to defend the Second Amendment there, behind enemy lines in a lot of ways. By declaring themselves sanctuary counties, these counties remind us that they’re still out there.
The truth is, even in what we consider a liberal state like Illinois or California, certain areas tend to be more conservative and, as a result of that, more pro-gun. You can also find an awful lot of gun rights activists in places like New York or New Jersey. They’re out there.
So it may be symbolic, but it’s still important.
Hell, if enough other states join their number, they might remind lawmakers that their state doesn’t just consist of Chicago. They might even help overturn some of the nonsense the state has embraced over the years and, in the process, actually clean up the Windy City. I won’t hold my breath on any of that, but a guy can dream.
After all, I have friends in Illinois. I’d love for them to live in a free state, and moving isn’t an option for them at this point, so…
The real question is whether this will catch on in other states. I’d love to see sanctuary counties in California, New York, Massachusetts, and other such states. I’d love to see them try and justify one kind of sanctuary community while attacking another.