Columns

The New Imperative: Red States Must Become Sanctuaries for the Bill of Rights

AP Photo/Julio Cortez

Heads up, Greg Abbott, Brian Kemp, and every other Republican governor with a GOP legislature. A democrat trifecta at the federal level, like the one from 2009-2010, is now upon us. Unlike the first two years of the Obama administration, they will not be leaving their most radical legislation until midnight of Christmas Eve 2022. Bills such as the Equality Act and the PRO Act that have already passed the House will be rushed through the Senate.

These bills alone will affect religious liberty and right-to-work legislation. Republican governors with a trifecta at the state level are the first line of defense against the erosion of our civil liberties because they will be coming for more as soon as they can modify Senate procedures to ram bills through with a simple majority.

Following the 2020 election, there were 23 Republican-controlled state governments. There is a possibility for a fourth in Alaska, which has not yet been finalized. This cycle was a pick-up of two for the GOP. The Democrats have outlined several radical pieces of legislation, and president-elect Joe Biden has threatened national mandates related to COVID-19.

We didn’t make the rules, but it is high time we start to play by them. The United States is still a federalist system. President Trump put this on full display during the COVID-19 response. The federal government provided resources as required, but the responses were locally driven and state-managed. Ideally, this is how nearly everything should be governed, except where the federal government’s powers are enumerated.

However, an ever-expanding federal government that keeps encroaching on our communities and daily lives is about to go into overdrive. Voters should expect higher taxes with a repeal of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Get ready for a smaller paycheck in 2022. And, of course, energy prices are going to rise because of disastrous environmental policies.

Our blue-state cousins have taken some unique approaches in order to wiggle out from under federal law. During the Obama administration, various cities and some states started to declare themselves “sanctuaries” for illegal immigrants. The courts have upheld this defiance. Let’s call it a precedent.

Bear with me. It is time to decide what we as a movement will demand our red state governors declare sanctuaries for. The obvious one is our Second Amendment rights. Luckily, this is an issue that crosses political lines in many red states. The Biden administration’s likely first step will make gun ownership and the purchase of ammunition unaffordable through registration requirements, taxes, and fees for common firearms and accessories.

Then Congress will begin to chip away at the types of firearms and accessories you can own. If the worst possible thing happens, gun czar Beto O’Rourke will structure mandatory buybacks. Even though he said he would come and take them during his failed presidential run, house-to-house searches and seizures seem like a step too far, even for Democrats. Plus, there would be a lot of unfortunate boating accidents to investigate.

In states with a Republican trifecta, a Second Amendment sanctuary needs to be declared. Red states should refuse to enforce any legislation that further infringes on gun rights or facilitates a federal registry of gun owners. Then they should litigate it, just as the Democrat states do. One of the only good things Mitch McConnell has done is fast-track judicial appointments. Shop for the correct jurisdiction, just like Democrats and the left do.

Gun rights are just one area where red states should dig in their heels and support one another. Any law or national mandate that infringes on the civil liberties of residents of the state must be rejected. National COVID-19 lockdowns or mask mandates? The answer must be no. Hate speech laws that interfere with political speech? No, thank you. Red states need to become sanctuaries for the Bill of Rights—and defend them vigorously.

Like Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, Republican governors must be prepared to tolerate being defamed and vilified by the corporate press. They must prepare contingencies to withstand federal funding being withdrawn. But every single one of them needs to be prepared to stand as a bulwark against the destruction of our God-given rights.