Certain states and cities are increasingly proclaiming themselves “Second Amendment sanctuaries,” but given we are all granted these rights within the United States of America, what does it mean to be a sanctuary?
Let’s start with defining the term. Generally, a 2nd Amendment sanctuary is a city, county, or other jurisdiction that has adopted a resolution declaring that restrictive gun control laws passed by a higher legislative body, such as the federal government or a state legislature, violate the Constitution and will not be enforced in that jurisdiction. These resolutions are intended to send a strong message to legislators that law-abiding gun owners, represented by their local governments, are opposed to such gun control measures.
Now, let’s take a closer look at these Second Amendment sanctuaries and why this trend is picking up steam across the nation.
A Growing Trend Across the U.S.
2nd Amendment sanctuaries have multiplied over the past few years. More than 1,200 jurisdictions in 37 states have adopted resolutions opposing the enforcement of state and federal laws that violates the Second Amendment. Sanctuaries are found across the nation, from Paris, Maine to Lake County, Florida; Needles, California to Kenai, Alaska.
Inspired by the recent expansion of the immigration sanctuary movement, law-abiding gun owners and their local governments saw the need to re-assert their Second Amendment rights. Many feel that current laws and pending legislation—ranging from universal background checks and magazine restrictions to extreme risk (“red flag”) orders—would infringe the individual’s constitutional right to bear arms. Years earlier, several states, including Alaska and Kansas, had passed resolutions declaring they would not comply with any federal gun laws they viewed as unconstitutional. These resolutions served as models for the Second Amendment sanctuary movement.
Committed gun owners can take the initiative to persuade local officials and policymakers to adopt Second Amendment sanctuary resolutions. For example, the Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus provides recommended steps to accomplish this goal, including coordinating efforts with other gun activists, communicating with law enforcement and legislative officials to urge them to action, and attending public legislative sessions to present petitions calling for a sanctuary resolution.