JEFFERSON — Marion County has been declared a Second Amendment “Sanctuary County,” taking a stand against unconstitutional gun laws.
The unanimous vote by the Marion County Commissioners Court was made on Monday, following a public comment from local attorney and citizen, Jim Finstrom, who expressed his concerns with the resolution.
“I have problems emphasizing the Second Amendment over the rest of the amendments in the Constitution,” said Finstrom. “I have problems with the language ‘sanctuary’ because it implies that maybe those laws won’t be enforced in Marion County as strongly as others.”
Finstrom said he’s conferred with several local law enforcement officers on the issue, and they’ve conveyed that they would rather see a resolution that supports stronger enforcement of gun laws that have been passed by lawmakers.
County Judge Leward LaFleur explained before that the goal is to make a stand to whoever needs to hear that the court will not allow anyone to subject the taxpayers of Marion County to any unconstitutional laws, or to infringe on their right to keep and bear arms.
“We, the court, serve at the pleasure of the people. We all swore an oath of office and to the Constitution,” the county judge said.
According to the resolution approved on Monday, it is the desire of the Commissioners Court to declare its support of the Second Amendment to the US Constitution and the Texas Constitution, protecting citizens’ inalienable and individual right to keep and bear arms.
“The members of the Marion County Commissioners Court took an oath to support and defend the United States Constitution, the Constitution of the State of Texas, and laws of the State of Texas, insofar as they are constitutional,” the resolution states.
Finstrom said to him, the “insofar as they are constitutional” part is concerning.
“A lot of people are saying background checks are not constitutional, any restrictions on assault weapons or big (gun) magazines are not constitutional,” said Finstrom. “And that would suggest that if they think they are not constitutional, they should not have to follow the law.
“And a sanctuary city gives that same impression,” he said.
Thus, Finstrom asked the court to table the item until they were able to get feedback and the endorsement of all local law enforcement entities, including the sheriff’s office, police department and Texas Department of Public Safety.
“And I would encouragement more enforcement of the gun laws that we have, which includes the Second Amendment,” said Finstrom.
The attorney further made it clear that he’s not opposed to possessing guns.
“My wife has a gun,” said Finstrom. “I have no objection to guns.
“I am concerned about having assault weapons in public and available for use — immediately — particularly with hate groups around and things like that,” he said. “I think there’s a fair amount of support for that in the community.”
Pct. 4 Commissioner Charles Treadwell, who made the motion to approve the resolution, said he’s very proud of the decision.
“I’m very proud to live in a country that gives us the right to freedom of speech … the right to keep and bear arms,” he said.
Pct. 2 Commissioner Joe McKnight seconded the motion, saying he respects his friend Finstrom’s opinion, but will have to disagree with him, 100 percent.
“I’m proud to second this,” McKnight said of the resolution, declaring Marion a Second Amendment Sanctuary County.
The resolution goes on to state that as an effort to defend the rights and liberties, which are guaranteed by the federal and state Constitutions, the commissioners court affirms its support for the county sheriff in the exercise of his sound discretion, and affirms its resolve to support decisions by the sheriff to not enforce any unconstitutional firearms restrictions against any citizen.
Further, “this Commissioners Court will not authorize or appropriate government funds, resources, employees, agencies, contractors, buildings, detention centers or offices for the purpose of enforcing law that unconstitutionally infringes on the right of the people to keep and bear arms,” the resolution states.
Second Amendment sanctuaries have been on the rise as more than 400 municipalities in 20 states have now adopted resolutions that oppose the enforcement of certain federal and state gun laws that sanctuary supporters view as unconstitutional.
Certain measures perceived as violation of the Second Amendment include: universal gun background checks, high capacity magazine bans, assault weapon bans and red flag laws.