Second Amendment Sanctuary resolution one step closer to becoming a reality in Shiawassee County
FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) - The Shiawassee County Board of Commissioners will decide Thursday whether to make the county a Second Amendment sanctuary and follow in the footsteps of hundreds of other municipalities across the nation and state.
On Wednesday a near unanimous decision during the Committee of the Whole meeting ensured the resolution would move forward. It declares support for the county sheriff and prosecuting attorney to use their discretion to not enforce any unconstitutional firearms law.
The 2A movement switched into high gear after lawmakers in Virginia passed tighter gun reforms. Several Michigan communities have followed suit and others are considering other resolutions that are in support of the movement.
The man leading the effort in Shiawassee County is Anthony Tolbert who says now is more of a reason than ever to act.
“The current state of affairs with regard to the COVID-19 pandemic where law enforcement were forced to reduce staff and cut budgets and publicly list crimes they would be responding to across the country to calls for the de-funding and disbanding of local police departments all point to why we should support our second amendment movement even more passionately than we did at the beginning,” Tolbert said before board.
Tolbert, who is the volunteer chairman of the Shiawassee County 2A Michigan group, was joined by vice chairman Howard Galloway.
“We stand with Brian [Sheriff Brian BeGole], and we stand with all law enforcement,” Galloway said. “And with all due respect to everybody here, we don’t need permission to stand next to and for law enforcement.”
Commissioner Daniel McMaster said that movement on the second amendment sanctuary resolution had been delayed because of COVID-19. He said a majority of the feedback he had received from constituents about the resolution was favorable towards it.
On the other side, two people spoke out against it during the meeting, including gun owner and a group leader from Genesee County Moms Demand Action. On its website the organization says it looks to protect people from gun violence by fighting for certain public safety measures.
“I am a gun owner. I don’t want my guns taken away, however, we are very clear in this country what is the legislative branch, what is the executive branch and what is the judicial branch,” Draeger said before the board. “You’re a part of the legislative branch and you’re asking the sheriff, who’s a part of the executive branch to act as if they’re in the judicial branch and determine what is actually constitutional.”
The discretionary clause, as it’s referred to by Galloway, is why commissioner Marlene Webster says she will not support the resolution and voted against moving it forward.
“If the law is unconstitutional it has to be taken in litigation to the court and appealed through the courts and determined by the Supreme Court,” Webster said.
But Tolbert and Galloway argue that discretion is something officers of the law have to use every day when responding to various calls. Tolbert says there are 700 signatures in support of the resolution. Commissioner John Plowman is one of its supporters.
“For my friends and colleagues, the second amendment is really important to them even if they’re not very political at all and maybe don’t vote very often in elections, but that second amendment -- bear arms -- is a big, big deal,” Plowman said.
Wednesday’s vote simply moved the resolution forward to Thursday’s regular board meeting where commissioners will make their final decision. That meeting begins at 5 p.m.
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