North Carolina county declares itself a 'gun sanctuary'

The Board of Commissioners in Cherokee County in North Carolina has passed a resolution — largely symbolic — declaring the county a "gun sanctuary."

The gist of the resolution:

Furthermore, any regulation of the right to keep and bear arms or affiliated firearm rights that violates the Second, Ninth, Tenth, or Fourteenth amendments to the US Constitution, that violates Article I, Sections 5, 16, and 30 of the North Carolina Constitution, or that violates numerous related US Supreme Court Decisions including those listed above shall be regarded by the People of, on, or in Cherokee County to be unconstitutional, a transgression of the Supreme Law of the Land and its spirit of individual sovereignty, and, therefore by necessity, unenforceable and invalid from the outset.

Moreover, the criminal misuse of firearms is due to the fact that criminals do not obey laws and this is not a reason to abrogate or abridge the unalienable, constitutionally-guaranteed rights of law abiding citizens.  The last protectors of the US Constitution are We the People of the United States and our ability to fulfill that role successfully rests on our Second Amendment rights.

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.

The measure is based on similar resolutions passed by some counties in Oregon.  Counties in Illinois, Washington, and New Mexico have declared gun sanctuaries, with county sheriffs refusing to enforce federal gun laws they see as an infringement on Second Amendment rights.

Daily Caller:

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.

The idea that a county or municipality can defy federal law and refuse to enforce gun control measures has a nice symmetry to states and cities declaring themselves a "sanctuary" for illegal aliens.  But is it legal?

No doubt, there will be a challenge if Cherokee County goes beyond the symbolism and actually refuses to enforce federal law.  And any challenge will probably be upheld due to the "Supremacy Clause" in the Constitution (Article VI).  The difference between gun sanctuaries and sanctuary cities is a question of local officials refusing to cooperate with federal immigration authorities.  ICE still has enforcement actions in sanctuary cities.  But any "immigration holds" on a criminal illegal are ignored.  The courts have ruled that local officials have the power to decide how to spend their law enforcement resources, including refusing to hold illegals.

The issue is working its way to the Supreme Court as the Trump administration has tried to cut law enforcement funding to sanctuary cities.  If SCOTUS rules in the administration's favor, it could make it easier to punish local governments for refusing to cooperate with ICE. 

"Gun sanctuaries" are a great idea and, if nothing else, express sentiments held by most residents in the county.

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