Second Amendment ‘sanctuaries’ pop up across the country as Republicans rebel against federal gun laws
Republicans funded by the National Rifle Association have borrowed from the ideology of the slave-holding South to try to nullify federal laws about guns.
The most extreme proponents of Second Amendment "sanctuaries," claim, like slaveholders more than 150 years ago, that the federal laws are invalid and can be nullified by states. Abolitionists also did this. Northern states passed "personal liberty laws" to try to nullify the federal Fugitive Slave Acts of 1793 and 1850.
"The still more interesting question is, whether the institutions of our forefathers … are to be preserved … free from the rude hands of innovators and enthusiasts," wrote South Carolina slaveholder Robert Turnbull in 1827.
Missouri state Sen. Eric Burlison (R-Battlefield), who pushed for a law that led to Kansas City police restricting federal access to their records, put it more succinctly: "We are telling President Biden to go pound sand."
More than 1,200 local governments have passed Second Amendment sanctuary resolutions in at least 43 states, including Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Kansas and New Mexico. At least 17 states also have these laws.
The gun rights movement borrowed the term "sanctuary" from supporters of immigrants who opposed helping the federal government enforce immigration laws. Thousands of immigrants from El Salvador and Guatemala facing deportation sought shelter in churches like the Adalberto United Methodist Church in Chicago where Mexican native Francisca Lino lived in an apartment above the church for more than three years.
"I said, well, they're creating sanctuary counties for illegals up in Chicago," said Bryan Kibler, the top prosecutor for Effingham County in Illinois. "Why don't we just steal their word and make Effingham County a sanctuary county for firearms?"
Perhaps our nation's worst sanctuary law is that one that Missouri Gov. Mike Parson, a former sheriff, signed in June at the Frontier Justice gun shop in Lee's Summit. Under this law, Missouri citizens can sue police departments for $50,000 in damages for violations. Even the National Rifle Association didn't support the bill.
In Columbia, Mo., the police department shut down an imaging machine used to share information about guns used in murders and other crimes after Parson signed the law. Kansas City police won't release investigative records to the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) or let ATF agents inspect guns and ammunition.
St. Louis and Jackson and St. Louis counties sued Missouri over the law. Brian Boynton, an acting assistant attorney general, said the law is invalid. He argued that under the Constitution's Supremacy Clause, Missouri can't nullify federal laws.
The laws that gun rights advocates try to nullify include background checks, assault weapons bans and laws that let judges order that guns temporarily be taken from people who are dangerous to themselves or others. These "red flag laws" let relatives or others, including police, petition a judge to remove the guns.
Connecticut was the first state in 1999 to pass a red flag law. President Joe Biden's Justice Department wrote model legislation to help states pass laws about extreme risk protection orders. Nineteen states and the District of Columbia now have these laws.
A study about Indiana's law published by the Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law estimates that for every 10 red flag orders one life is saved. Similar results were found in a previous study in Connecticut.
But gun rights activists are seeing red over red flag laws.
More than half of Colorado's 64 counties declared themselves Second Amendment sanctuaries, some even before Gov. Jared Polis signed a red flag law. The law is known as the Deputy Zackari Parrish III Violence Prevention Act after a Douglas County deputy who was killed in an ambush on New Year's Eve 2017 that also injured six other people.
Douglas County commissioners voted unanimously for a Second Amendment sanctuary law to preempt the state red flag law named after their murdered deputy.
"Does that mean everybody gets to carry a gun?" asked Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock. "Those who already have restraining orders? The sex offender that's registered down the street here from my office?"
Although gun lovers have wrapped themselves in the language of the sanctuary movement to protect their guns, they spurn it for using it to protect immigrants.
In Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott signed Senate Bill 4 which bans sanctuary cities in the state. Local officials can be criminally charged if they refuse to help the federal government enforce immigration laws.
"Elected officials and law enforcement agencies they don't get to pick and choose which laws they will obey," Abbot said in 2017.
Four years later, Abbot signed seven laws pushed by gun lovers, including one that makes Texas a Second Amendment sanctuary state.
Capitol rioter who witnessed attack on Mitch McConnell's office asked to testify before Congress: report
On Tuesday, NBC4 Washington's Scott MacFarlane reported that Capitol rioter Thomas Vinson has told the court that the House select committee wants him to testify on what he saw during the attack.
Vinson, a man from Kentucky who has pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges, is scheduled to be sentenced on Friday.
NEW: In court motion this morning, Jan 6 defendant Thomas Vinson, who's pleaded guilty to misdemeanor and faces s… https://t.co/Ol7S87wbUv— Scott MacFarlane (@Scott MacFarlane) 1634643854.0
Vinson and his wife Lori took selfies after coming in with the crowd breaking into the Capitol. Lori has subsequently lost her job as a nurse after her involvement in the Capitol riot was reported by the media, but has said she has no regrets and would "do it again tomorrow."
The Louisville Courier-Journal has reported that the couple claims to have witnessed an attack on the office of then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), which could potentially be of interest to Congress.
"On a recorded call with the FBI, Lori said she and her husband were at a rally near the White House lawn and talked straight to the U.S. Capitol, up the steps and straight through the door, following a stream of people inside," reported Kala Kachmar. "Vinson denied waiting outside for someone to break down doors or windows to get in. She said they didn't meet any resistance going in and police didn't ask them to leave, the court documents said. They also witnessed people hitting a door with Sen. Mitch McConnell's name on it with a crowd control stanchion three times, after which they decided to leave."
This comes as the committee is also seeking to compel testimony from a number of former President Donald Trump's associates. Some have refused, most notably strategist Steve Bannon, who is facing a criminal contempt referral.
Discussing Donald Trump's latest legal maneuver designed to keep congressional investigators looking at the Jan 6th insurrection from accessing information from the National Archives about his administration, CNN analyst David Gregory expressed exasperation with the proceedings so far as the ex-president keeps using delaying tactics.
Speaking with "New Day" host Brianna Keilar, Gregory said Trump seems to be able to find an endless supply of lawyers who will file his lawsuits despite a history of having them thrown out.
Having said that, the longtime political observer worried that Trump will run out the clock, leaving a blueprint for others to derail all congressional investigations.
With host Keilar saying it would be "weird" if the current White House helped Trump hide critical information from the committee, Gregory explained what is at stake.
"This is also a defense of a free and fair election, a defense of our democratic system," he explained. "This was so beyond the pale. The fact that Trump is doing what he does, which is to attack the committee, which is a bipartisan committee that has Republicans and that has to have the importance, the political importance."
"Because if we can't get to the bottom of what happened January 6th, then Congress is useless," he continued. "We don't have an ability for one branch to investigate the other. This was an abuse of power just based on everything we know now, based on what the president said out loud in front of god and everybody. So once you have added layers of conversations he was having, it'll become even clearer. And, again, we have plenty of clarity already."
CNN 10 19 2021 07 08 21 youtu.be
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