Some local officials declaring 'gun sanctuaries' to push back on new laws: report

Some local officials declaring 'gun sanctuaries' to push back on new laws: report
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County officials in at least four states are declaring gun sanctuaries in response to new restrictions which they believe infringe on Second Amendment constitutional rights,  Reuters reported Monday.

Organizers of pro-gun sanctuaries in Washington, Oregon, New Mexico and Illinois are complicating the efforts of the Democratic majorities in those state governments to implement new gun controls.


Elected sheriffs and county commissioners have said they can circumvent gun laws in multiple ways and admitted they took the idea from Democrats who have declared their cities as immigration sanctuaries, according to Reuters.

Some in the pro-gun counties say they might allow some people deemed to be threats under “red flag” laws to keep their firearms.

In states where the legal age for ownership is raised to 21, authorities in some jurisdictions could refuse to confiscate guns from 18-, 19- and 20-year-olds, according to the report.

“If they want to have their own laws, that’s fine. Don’t shove them on us down here,” Dave Campbell, a member of the board of Effingham County, Ill., told Reuters.

Sixty-three counties or municipalities in Illinois have passed some form of a firearms sanctuary resolution and more are likely to, Campbell added.

In Washington, lawmakers passed Initiative 1639, which raises the minimum age to purchase a semiautomatic rifle to 21, deepens background checks and increases waiting periods.

Sheriffs in more than half of Washington’s counties have pledged not to enforce the rule, pro-gun activists told Reuters, and five counties have passed resolutions doing the same.

“Unfortunately for the governor and the attorney general, they’re not my boss. My only boss is the people that elected me to office,” Sheriff Bob Songer of Klickitat County, Wash., said.

Twenty-five of New Mexico’s 33 counties passed resolutions supporting sheriffs who refuse to enforce firearms laws they consider unconstitutional, according to the New Mexico Sheriffs Association.

Eight Oregon counties approved "Second Amendment Preservation Ordinances" last November, per Reuters.

Gun-control groups have questioned the legality of the sanctuary movement.

“It should not be up to individual sheriffs or police officers deciding which laws they personally like,” Jonathan Lowy of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence told Reuters. “This attitude shows a disrespect for the way our system of government is supposed to operate.”