So Jackson County is now a Second Amendment "sanctuary county."
Let's be clear: The recent move by the Jackson County Board of Commissioners to declare that the county would ignore federal and state gun laws it doesn't like has zero merit or legal standing. A county board of commissioners can't simply invalidate state and federal laws.
But the resolution the BOC adopted does show just how much a radical idea has become normalized as a part of our political mainstream.
This is an election year and the BOC's sanctuary county resolution was nothing more than political grandstanding designed to appeal to voters who have been amped-up by social media propaganda. It's politics, not policy at play here.
Still, it does reflect how paranoid our political culture has become. There are many gun owners out there who believe that "the government" (it's never clear who, just "the government") is going to confiscate their guns. They believe that because they've been fed a steady stream of propaganda on social media and by the right-wing media designed to gin up a boogyman fear of looming confiscation.
A few years ago, when President Obama was in office, this same propaganda machine put out the word that Obama was going to ban gun ammo. A run on bullets ensued. It took me months to find a few .22 bullets so I could plink at the gun range. It was a crazy situation created only by rumor. Nobody ever tried to confiscate either bullets or guns while Obama was president. That was never going to happen, but millions of Americans thought it was true. (Millions also believed that Obama was setting up FEMA tents to round up people and put them in internment camps — that never happened, either.)
But that paranoid mentality continues to exist and has only grown larger, infused by hyper-partisanship which has become a cancer on our nation's political system.
What was at one time a fringe movement has been embraced by the Republican Party as a way to gin up voters by sowing fear and discord. The GOP has attempted to manipulate voters by painting their opponents, the Democrats, as wanting to confiscate guns. That feeds into the fringe ideology of the radical right. It may not be true, but the GOP uses it anyway for political gain.
Democrats are not totally blameless in this, either. The idea of "sanctuary" communities actually began on the left with towns that refuse to cooperate with the federal government to enforce immigration law, so-called "sanctuary cities." That is a little different than refusing to enforce gun laws, but the underlying idea is the same.
Indeed, if you look back in history, there have been times when the state and federal governments did adopt laws that were immoral or inhumane. The most obvious examples were the Jim Crow laws in the South which discriminated against one group of citizens simply based on skin color. Those laws were unethical, immoral and ultimately, they were ruled in violation of the Constitution.
That didn't come without a cost. People did push back against those laws, but that came mostly from individual citizens who violated an immoral law and were prepared to go to jail to make their point. Rosa Parks refused to sit at the back of the bus and was prepared to go to jail in an effort to have a law dismantled. Dissent against immoral laws have a long history in this nation.
What's different today with the sanctuary movement is that it's not individuals who are declaring certain laws invalid, but local governments. That's an interesting move, but ultimately doesn't carry the weight of individual dissent.
As a legal structure, a local government cannot overrule the U.S. Supreme Court, nor can it rule federal and state laws invalid. In the end, local governments have less of a moral standing than an individual does to protest laws it believes to be unjust. Laws affect individuals, not governments.
There are times, however, when local governments have ignored federal laws on a massive scale. The current trend of states ignoring federal marijuana laws is a perfect example of how a bad federal law is being undermined by local action.
That also extends to the local level where in some cases, law enforcement agencies have, more or less, decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana by issuing citations instead of arresting people.
In theory, local law enforcement could do the same thing with gun laws, but the liability would be much greater. If a local cop or prosecutor ignored a gun law — say by allowing people to carry guns on school campuses and someone was killed or injured — that agency could be liable for millions of dollars in lawsuits.
That's a little different than ignoring marijuana laws, which would mostly lead to someone getting the giggles and munchies.
So what gun laws does the BOC object to?
All of them, apparently.
States the county's resolution:
"Whereas, all federal acts, laws, orders, rules or regulations regarding firearms, firearm accessories and ammunition are a violation of the Second Amendment..."
So, Jackson County is on record saying that every single federal and state gun law is invalid.
The BOC objects to background checks before someone buys a gun.
The BOC believes guns on school campuses is a good idea.
The BOC believes convicted felons should be able to have a gun.
The BOC believes anyone of any age should be able to buy a gun, no restrictions.
The BOC believes there should be no restrictions on buying a machine gun.
The BOC thinks allowing the mentally ill to have guns is a perfectly good idea.
Crazy, just crazy.
Maybe somebody on the BOC should have actually read the sanctuary resolution before they voted to adopt it. The document is nothing more than radical-right propaganda.
In one section, the resolution refers to the Heller Supreme Court decision, a key 2008 ruling that said individuals have the right to own a firearm.
But what the resolution doesn't mention is that in the Heller ruling, the Supreme Court also said this:
"Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose: For example, concealed weapons prohibitions have been upheld under the Amendment or state analogues. The Court's opinion should not be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms."
That flies directly in the face of the resolution the BOC adopted. Reasonable gun laws are permitted under the Supreme Court ruling; there is no absolute, unrestricted right to own or possess a firearm, or to carry a gun anywhere you want, no matter what the BOC declared in its sanctuary resolution.
Maybe the best example of that is the BOC itself. When you go to a BOC meeting, you have to go through a metal detector and have your stuff scanned before you enter the courthouse. Nobody is allowed to carry a gun, or even a pocket knife, into a BOC meeting.
Seems as if the BOC doesn't want any restrictions on guns — except at its own meetings. If the board were sincere about promoting absolute gun rights, it would allow people to bring guns into its meetings.
We all know that isn't going to happen.
The county's Second Amendment sanctuary resolution wasn't about protecting gun rights, it was about pandering to voters in an election year.
What a bunch of hypocrites.