It appears Emmons County, North Dakota made history today. According to information passed along to The Minuteman, the Emmons County Commission voted 5 – 0 to become the first county in the state to be a Second Amendment sanctuary. You can see the issue on their agenda here. The effort was led by Commissioner Erin Magrum— son of State Representative Jeff Magrum (R – District 28).
To better understand the context of such a move, we must look to Virginia.
Back in November, Democrats won majorities in both chambers of the Virginia General Assembly. With Governor Ralph Northam (D) having been elected in 2017, the November 2019 election meant Democratic control of the state government for the first time since 1994.
With this control, Virginia Democrats have proposed a whopping 32 pieces of legislation in the 2020 Session that deal with weapons— the vast majority of them involving firearms. With things like universal background checks, Red Flag Laws, and assault weapon bans being proposed; a firestorm of opposition ensued.
Out of 95 counties in the Commonwealth of Virginia, there are 91 that have passed resolutions to be Second Amendment sanctuaries. This has sparked a movement across the country, where hundreds of cities and counties have followed suit.
While the Emmons County Resolution seems to have followed the template of those in Virginia, there’s an interesting difference. Apparently some Emmons County commissioners had concerns about the term “sanctuary”. So, they amended and replaced it with “advocate”.
The resolution will now read, “That the Board of Commissioners hereby declares Emmons County, North Dakota as a ‘Second Amendment Advocate’.” Yet, the change didn’t alter anything in relation to the intent of the resolution. In a sense, it can be argued that the term “advocate” is stronger language.
Some folks may argue that passing this resolution was unnecessary. I disagree. Aside from trouble in the nation’s Capitol, North Dakota’s lawmakers aren’t always great either.
It’s true that North Dakota passed Constitutional Carry during the 2017 Legislative Session. But let’s not forget that during the 2019 session there was a Red Flag Law proposed. And it’s worth noting that 8 of its 10 sponsors were so-called Republicans. While the bill went down in flames on a 17 – 76 vote — after major opposition from the citizenry — it’s likely we’ve not seen the last of it.
In addition, the House defeated multiple pro-gun bills last year. Which is why we published an article explaining why the North Dakota House isn’t as pro-gun as you might think. Remember, the House is considered the most “conservative” of the two chambers.
Among those bills they defeated was Rep. Rick Becker’s (R – District 7) House Bill 1309. Becker’s bill would have prohibited the state, its political subdivisions, and law enforcement from assisting federal officials with enforcement of federal gun laws, orders, rules, or regulations that are more stringent than North Dakota’s. Unfortunately, the bill was defeated on a vote of 30-62. It was yet another example of the House not being as pro-gun as they should be.
With so much room for improvement at both the federal and state levels, it becomes incumbent upon elected officials at the county and city levels to take action. This is necessary. We don’t need to wait for problems like those found in Virginia to arise. Now is the time to take a stand. Emmons County got this right, and other local governments should do the same.
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