A few weeks ago we talked about a rural county in Illinois which was threatening to declare themselves a sanctuary for gun owners if the state moved to pass restrictive gun control laws. While largely symbolic in nature, it was a warning shot across the bow of the state legislature and a case of more conservative voters using the left’s own language against them. The movement started in Effingham County, but as the Washington Times reported this weekend, it quickly spread and nearly a half-dozen counties have joined the cause.
Several rural Illinois counties have taken a stand for gun rights by co-opting a word that conservatives associate with a liberal policy to skirt the law: sanctuary.
At least five counties recently passed resolutions declaring themselves sanctuary counties for gun owners – a reference to so-called sanctuary cities such as Chicago that don’t cooperate with aspects of federal immigration enforcement.
The resolutions are meant to put the Democratic-controlled Legislature on notice that if it passes a host of gun bills, including new age restrictions for certain weapons, a bump stock ban and size limit for gun magazines, the counties might bar their employees from enforcing the new laws.
Much like the ideological chasm between New York City and the more rural upstate region, Illinois has their own rift between Chicago and the downstate counties which Trump largely carried in 2016. And that downstate area is where this backlash of Second Amendment support is coming from. The unique feature of these sanctuary votes is that the county executives are threatening to treat new gun control laws the same way sanctuary states and cities have been treating immigration law. If Chicago passes them, they’re threatening to order local officials not to enforce them.
This has drawn a puzzling response from Illinois Democrats who can’t seem to grasp the hypocrisy of their own answers. Check out what one Chicago area Democratic state legislator had to say. (Emphasis added)
Such talk worries Kathleen Willis, a Democratic state representative from suburban Chicago who sponsored some of the gun legislation.
“I don’t think you can say, ‘I don’t agree with the law so I won’t enforce it,’” she said. “I think it sends the wrong message.”
I see. So it’s the wrong message to refuse to enforce a law that you want to pass, but it’s a principled stand for justice if you refuse to enforce federal laws on immigration? The tone deaf nature of these folks is truly something to observe.
In the meantime, the sanctuary for gun owners idea seems to be spreading. One member of the Effingham County Board is quoted as saying that nearly 20 other counties from around the state and other parts of the nation have requested copies of resolution they passed. Is this a positive trend for democracy? That’s hard to say. It’s troubling to cheer for anyone who is refusing to enforce the law of the land. But when so many cities and states are refusing to help uphold laws they disagree with, turnabout begins to look more and more like fair play.