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Resolution to affirm rights to be discussed this week
| JANUARY 18, 2020
LAPEER — Lapeer County is among those in the first wave of Michigan counties whose leaders are looking at declaring themselves Second Amendment sanctuary counties — 2A Sanctuary for short. County Commissioner Rick Warren (District 5) moved Thursday to put a resolution on the agenda for the Committee of the Whole meeting that will take place Thursday, Jan. 23.
As of press time, several other counties in the state have begun the process of looking at 2A Sanctuary resolutions, and the interest is picking up steam quickly. Some have failed to pass motions while others have tentatively approved resolutions that will go forward for final approval.
The issue was brought up briefly at a recent Lapeer County Board of Commissioners meeting by District 1 Commissioner Brenden Miller, spurred by questions from a constituent, though no action was taken to move forward at the time. Local and statewide groups, including Michigan for 2A Sanctuary Counties and its localized offshoots, have been formed on social media to gather support from people who wish to see their counties become 2A sanctuaries. A member of the local group, Harry Akers, approached Sheriff Scott McKenna about the issue.
“I have been watching closely what is happening in Virginia and here in Michigan,” said McKenna. “I also have spoken with many people about their concerns and was called by Harry last week. We scheduled a meeting and sat down to discuss on Tuesday at the Sheriff’s Office.”
Akers gave McKenna a sample 2A Sanctuary resolution, which he passed on to the Board of Commissioners. An ad-hoc committee is being formed to meet prior to Thursday’s Committee of the Whole meeting with the task of drafting an official resolution, which is to be presented on Thursday. Should the resolution then be approved by a majority of the board, it would be up for final approval at the Jan. 30 full board meeting. The resolution could also be voted down, or moved to a future meeting for further discussion.
Akers was present and spoke briefly during public time at the meeting, addressing District 7 Commissioner Ian Kempf’s comment that there was not current pending legislation in this state that indicated a need to get this done quickly.
“If we wait until everything is pending and they have their ducks in a row to push it through, it’s too late,” said Akers.
Kempf, who will be absent at Thursday’s meeting, had at first asked that the issue be moved farther into the future, but agreed to an amended motion to form the ad-hoc committee to draft the resolution. He was quick to clarify that his request does not mean he is against the issue.
“It’s an important decision,” he said. “In my opinion, you should give that decision the thought and consideration I would hope our citizens would expect of us and not just push something through.”
The push to create 2A Sanctuary counties is happening across the country. At the end of 2019, counties in the state of Virginia began declaring themselves 2A sanctuaries, sending the message that they do not intend to comply with any unconstitutional gun control laws coming down from the Virginia Legislature, which has a Democrat majority. From there, the movement has spread to other states.
Here in Michigan — as in other states — the creation of 2A sanctuary counties would be a statement to state government leaders that the counties intend to uphold the Second Amendment, which protects the right of the people to keep and bear arms.
“This discussion we are having right now is all over the country, it’s not just in Michigan,” said Warren, who said he wants to get the message out to the community immediately that Lapeer County will uphold the constitutionally protected rights of its citizens.
Board Chair and District 2 Commissioner Gary Roy agreed, and said the faster they get this done, the quicker they can let the county residents know, officially, where the board stands on the matter.
Questions have arisen in other counties about what the passage of such a resolution would mean for law enforcement personnel when it comes to the enforcement of laws that go against the Second Amendment, but Sheriff McKenna has clear feelings about that.
“When I was elected I placed my hand on the bible and swore to uphold the Constitution and protect the rights of the residents of Lapeer County,” said McKenna. “For me it is simple, I will do exactly that and will not be a part of infringing on the Second Amendment rights of our citizens.”