By KYLE DAVIDSON
Capital News Service
LANSING — More counties are adopting pro-Second Amendment resolutions, taking a stand against red flag laws that would allow law enforcement agencies to temporarily seize firearms if they believe the owners are a danger to themselves or others.
Mackinac and Delta counties are among those whose commissions passed resolutions supporting the rights of citizens to bear arms.
The move is symbolic and intended to make a statement to the Legislature about each county’s support for the Second Amendment.
“It doesn’t carry much weight, but what it does do, it gives them a feeling of how we feel about it. It’s ceremonial almost,” said Paul Krause, the Mackinac County commissioner who offered the resolution.
The sanctuary county movement is intended to signal that the county does not intend to enforce gun laws that it believes violate the Second Amendment.
Richard Martin, the Lake County sheriff and president of the Michigan Coalition for Responsible Gun Owners, said that, unlike firearm restrictions available under personal protection orders, red flag laws don’t seem to have an appeal process.
Other officials have expressed interest in their counties joining the list of so-called “sanctuary counties.”
For example, Livingston County Commissioner Bob Bezotte announced that he’ll bring a resolution to the Public Safety, Infrastructure and Development Committee on Feb. 18.
The Montcalm County Board of Commissioners is scheduled to listen to a presentation from a local gun rights activist on Feb. 24.
Missaukee County has tabled a resolution until its meeting in March.
However, some county officials have voiced concerns with the resolutions’ symbolic nature.
“The movement is basically asking the county commissions to pass a resolution declaring themselves a sanctuary county, and directing the sheriff and/or the prosecutor to enforce or not enforce certain laws, specifically anything that’s unconstitutional,” Livingston County Sheriff Michael Murphy said.
“Well, of course we’re not going to enforce anything that’s unconstitutional. We took an oath to uphold the constitution, not to violate it, so I don’t really know the purpose of it,” Murphy said.
“Secondly, we (sheriffs) don’t work for the county board of commissioners. They’re our funding unit. We have to work with them, of course, but there’s not anybody on the county board that can tell me what to do. I’m an elected official. I answer to the people, as does the prosecutor,” Murphy said.
There is also concern about how sanctuary status would affect funding.
Missaukee County Administrator Precia Garland said, “For example, with the sanctuary city situation, you have larger cities that have declared that they weren’t going to enforce immigration law and the federal government said, ‘Okay, if you’re not going to enforce our laws we’re not going to provide you the financial support that we would normally.’”
A pending House resolution would make Michigan a Second Amendment sanctuary state.
It would require public servants to refuse to enforce “unconstitutional restrictions on the Second Amendment” and “attempt to defend individuals from unlawful enforcement of such restrictions.”
Martin, the Lake County sheriff, said, “I think it would make a statement that the Legislature and the governor would have to listen to that says, ‘Hey, you know what. The people of Michigan don’t want anything that’s going to infringe on their rights as gun owners.”
The resolution, introduced by Rep. Gary Eisen, R-St. Clair Township, is in the Government Operations Committee.