As the number of U.S. counties claiming “Second Amendment Sanctuary” status grows almost as rapidly as the pages in the Federal Register, one, in particular, is leading the proverbial pack as the most freedom-loving.
Daniel Horowitz reports for The Blaze that on Feb 3, Newton County, Missouri saw its local commission pass the "Second Amendment Preservation Act of Newton County Missouri", which states, in part:
…all federal acts, laws, orders, rules, and regulations passed by the federal government and specifically any Presidential Administration whether past, present, or future, which infringe on the people's right to keep and bear arms as guaranteed by the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution and Article I, Section 23 of the Missouri Constitution shall be invalid in the county.
And, as Horowitz notes:
Specifically, the ordinance targets federal policies that order the tracking or registering of firearms or ammunition, an idea that Democrats have been floating recently. It also bars the enforcement of any effort to confiscate guns except from those who are ‘suspected criminals.’
The latter portion of which still does not comport with the Second Amendment, because being a “suspect” does not equate to being given due process of law, a jury trial in a timely fashion, and being convicted and put behind bars. Only after those constitutional requirements have been observed, and a “suspect” has been convicted, can that criminal then be disarmed as a function of being imprisoned. And if a criminal is released from prison or not sent to prison, he or she is supposed to retain his or her right to keep and bear arms.
However, despite it not being a total win, and despite the fact that local, state, and county governments should not have to pass such statutes in the first place, this is a strong start, and one of the most prominent in the nation. As Horowitz observes:
The sanctuary movement has only recently come to the state of Missouri, with several counties recently declaring themselves Second Amendment sanctuaries and the state legislature pushing similar bills. But Newton County might have adopted the strongest language in the entire country – going so far as to criminalize enforcement or cooperation with federal law enforcement who seek to enforce such policies.
This news might come as a relief to many Newton County residents who’ve seen the infamous “peaceful” and “mostly peaceful” protests in Missouri over the past year.
Specifically, section 4a of the Newton County ordinance grants the sheriff's department ‘full authority to make an arrest of any and all federal agents that violate state laws and enforce regulations’ that violate the Second Amendment. Finally, the ordinance bars anyone ‘who enforces or attempts to enforce any of the infringements identified in this ordinance’ from ‘being hired as a law enforcement officer or to supervise law enforcement officers in the county.’
And, just like it might please those in Missouri who’ve seen those “peaceful” and “mostly peaceful” protests put lives and property in danger, it might please liberty-loving scholars who have tried for decades to increase the number of people who understand the concept of nullification of unconstitutional federal statutes, “orders,” or “regulations.”
As Thomas Jefferson famously noted in his 1798 Kentucky Resolutions – responses to the Alien Act, the Sedition Act (something contemporary leftists appear to want to mimic when it comes to speech), and George Washington’s unconstitutional march on western Pennsylvania whiskey makers to (again, unconstitutionally) collect a constitutional federal excise tax – not only do state, county, and local politicians retain the prerogative to not enforce unconstitutional federal mandates and statutes, if they are agents of the polis, they have a sworn duty to reject unconstitutional mandates and statutes.
Because they swear to abide by the Constitution.
Newton County’s move is laudable - but, again, it should be unnecessary. Not only does the Second Amendment explicitly prohibit federal, state, county, and local governments from infringing in any way on the innate human right to keep and bear arms, the people working for any level of government swear oaths to abide by the Constitution. For those oaths to mean anything, the people swearing them should behave accordingly.
Which tells us something about the strength of constitutions.
Aristotle promoted the idea of constitutionally limited governments. But every nation in every epoch that has operated by a constitution has seen its politicians disregard it, and disregard it with increasing frequency and devastation as time passes and more interest groups pop up to gain at the expense of other people’s rights.
The recent move in Newton, MO is a learning opportunity to recall the words of Thomas Jefferson in Kentucky Resolution Number Four:
Resolved, that alien friends are under the jurisdiction and protection of the laws of the state wherein they are; that no power over them has been delegated to the United States, nor prohibited to the individual states distinct from their power over citizens; and it being true as a general principle, and one of the amendments to the Constitution having also declared, that ‘the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution nor prohibited by it to the states are reserved to the states respectively or to the people,’ the act of the Congress of the United States passed on the 22d day of June, 1798, entitled ‘An act concerning aliens,’ which assumes power over alien friends not delegated by the Constitution, is not law, but is altogether void and of no force.
Nullification. As those who visit the Tenth Amendment Center can learn, people who swear to uphold the US Constitution have a self-imposed obligation to nullify unconstitutional federal acts.
And, just as we have innate rights, we have the right to tell others about it, even as courageous people in MO desperately try to retain their rights in the face of the ever-growing federal threat to them.