North Carolina County Declares Itself a 'Gun Sanctuary'
Cherokee County in North Carolina is the latest locality in the country to take a page from the illegal alien sanctuary movement and declare itself a "gun sanctuary."
There are about 60 counties and towns across the country where local governments have expressed their preference not to enforce federal gun laws if they conflict with their idea of the Second Amendment.
The Cherokee County Board of Commissioners voted 3-2 in favor of the measure, which is largely symbolic.
“Therefore, the Cherokee County Government will not authorize or appropriate government funds, resources, employees, agencies, contractors, buildings, detention centers or offices for the purpose of enforcing or assisting in the enforcement of any element of such acts, laws, orders, mandates, rules or regulations, that infringe on the right by the people to keep and bear arms as described and defined in detail above.”
Officials cite similar ordinances in Oregon as a reference. The declaration, which passed last week, is considered essentially symbolic.
The Cherokee Scout reported that the county’s decision to refuse to implement federal laws that do not comport with its own policies bears some similarities to the concept of sanctuary cities refusing to enforce federal immigration policies.
This movement toward declaring gun sanctuaries has been growing in recent months.
Counties in Illinois, Washington, Oregon and New Mexico have declared gun sanctuaries, according to Reuters, in response to legislation they believe is an infringement on the 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees the right to keep and bear arms. All four states have Democratic majorities and governorships.
Sixty-three municipalities in Illinois have passed some type of measure and more are likely, according to Dave Campbell, a member of the board of Effingham County, Illinois, in an interview with Reuters. “If they want to have their own laws, that’s fine. Don’t shove them on us down here,” Campbell said.
Half of the counties in Washington state are prepared to declare sanctuaries in response to Initiative 1639, which raised the minimum age to purchase a semi-automatic rifle to 21, and increased background checks and the waiting period, according to Reuters. Five counties have passed actual resolutions. Eight counties in Oregon and 25 in New Mexico have passed measures to support sheriffs who defy gun control legislation.
Organizers are also working with other states, having formed a friendly coalition to share resources and strategy with California, New York, Iowa and Idaho, according to Reuters.
Is it legal? The Supremacy Clause in the Constitution would seem to preclude the selective enforcement of federal law. As for state laws that conflict with a local government's idea of the Second Amendment, it will vary from state to state, but most state constitutions have their own supremacy article, making the resolutions declaring gun sanctuaries symbolic statements only.
Still, it's an excellent statement of support for the Second Amendment that local residents can rally around.