A sanctuary county... for gun owners

Out in Illinois, the state legislature has been attempting to seize on the supposed momentum for new firearms restrictions and begun passing a raft of new gun control measures. Governor Bruce Rauner has been using his veto powers in some cases, but that hasn’t slowed down the Democrats seeking new restrictions. In response to this flurry of legislative activity, the residents and elected officials of one Illinois county have come up with what some are seeing as at least a partial solution. They’ve voted to declare themselves a “sanctuary county” for gun owners if the new control measures all go into effect. (Washington Times)

An overwhelming majority of board members in Effingham County, Illinois, decided to “flip the script” this week and declare itself a “sanctuary” for gun owners.

Effingham County State’s Attorney Bryan Kibler and board member David Campbell called a barrage of gun-control bills working their way through the Illinois House and Senate a clear signal that it’s time to “take a stand.”

The men joined “Fox & Friends First” on Thursday to discuss a new Second Amendment resolution that passed along an 8-1 vote…

The resolution reads: “If the Government of the State of Illinois shall infringe upon the inalienable rights granted by the Second Amendment, Effingham County shall become a ‘sanctuary county’ for all firearms.”

A novel approach to be sure and one which might make for some spirited debate in the Land of Lincoln. In more normal times we would immediately be cautioning the good folks of Effingham County against an action which could readily run into a brick wall because of supremacy issues. The individual cities, counties and towns aren’t supposed to be able to override state law. But now that we live in an era where we have cities and states doing the same thing to the federal government over immigration issues, who knows? Perhaps this is the wave of the future.

Of course, none of that may come into play in Effingham County because, as their own State’s Attorney freely admits, this resolution has no actual teeth to it. It’s almost entirely symbolic. Simply saying that your county is a sanctuary for all firearms doesn’t carry much of anything in terms of the weight of law. Even if the state government wanted to challenge them on this, what sort of action would they seek an injunction against? Using a phrase?

The real battle lines would be drawn if the county attempted something similar to what the sanctuary city people have done with ICE. They could try to forbid any cooperation with state law enforcement agencies by county and municipal officials in matters of enforcing the new gun control laws. Such a move sounds like it should be doomed to failure when challenged in court, but in 2018 all bets are off. They’ve found judges willing to prop up sanctuary city laws related to immigration concerns so maybe they can find a judge to back them up here as well.

But even if it doesn’t have any teeth, hats off to the folks out in Effingham County for at least making their frustration with state leaders clear in such an inventive way. Good luck to them and to all of us. We may need it before this fight is over.