Officials in Mohave County in Arizona unanimously approved a gun rights resolution that declares the county a “sanctuary” for the Second Amendment in efforts to express strong support for Americans’ constitutionally-guaranteed private gun ownership rights.
“The Board affirms its support of the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and declares Mohave County a Second Amendment Sanctuary County,” reads a resolution approved unanimously by the Mohave County Board of Supervisors at a meeting on Nov. 4.
The word “sanctuary” appears to be a play on words and reference to the phenomenon of the sanctuary city movement, where at least eight states and hundreds of cities across the United States are recognized as “sanctuaries” for illegal immigrants. These places have enacted measures to prevent local officials from cooperating with federal immigration authorities.
The county board’s chairwoman, Hildy Angius, noted that the move to adopt a “Second Amendment sanctuary” status is a symbolic one.
“[The resolution] is nothing legally binding,” Angius said during the discussion on Nov. 4. “It’s a statement by a government entity about something we feel strongly about. It’s not a law or an ordinance—it’s a resolution of support.”
She later explained: “To me [the resolution] is a statement from Mohave County that if Congress, or State Legislature, or the governor, pass laws which infringe on our Second Amendment rights, with the help and leadership of our county sheriff, they’re in for a big fight. I hope that other Arizona counties would follow suit.”
A number of elected officials were in attendance during the discussion leading up to the vote. Among them were U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), state Sen. Sonny Borrelli (R-Ariz.) and state Rep. Leo Biasiucci (R-Ariz.).
“Although this is symbolic in nature, this reaffirms the county’s commitment, as well as mine, to support and defend the U.S. and Arizona constitutions,” Borrelli said Tuesday in a press release, reported KTAR.
He also said at the Monday discussion: “If more counties and cities actually did this, this would send a clear-cut message to all the state representatives, [regardless] of what side of the aisle they are on … that they should be supporting the citizens’ right to defend themselves, number one, first and foremost. Because when seconds count, the police are minutes away, so you have that right, and you should be able to maintain that God-given right to protect yourself.”
Mohave County Sheriff Doug Schuster also spoke at the meeting, saying: “We’re here to talk about the right to keep and bear arms, [of] which I’m an ardent supporter. There will always be a need to regulate the use of firearms for the safety and security of our communities. However, the rights of our citizens to possess and carry firearms, God-willing, will never be infringed.”
“The day they outlaw guns is the day your sheriff becomes an outlaw,” he later added.
Ron Gould, the county’s supervisor, noted that while the right to self-defense and hunting are also extremely important, they are “side benefits,” and that the purpose of the Second Amendment is to “throw off an oppressive government.”
“Jefferson wrote in the Constitution that it is your right, your duty, to throw off an oppressive government, and individual ownership of firearms gives you the ability to do that. The first thing that tyrants will do … [is] disarm the populace because it makes you easier to be taken captive and to be subjugated,” he said.
“Bear in mind, that right is not a right given to you by government. It’s a right given to you by God, that is only affirmed in the Constitution. It’s your God-given right to be free.”
Mohave County had earlier signed a resolution to support a city in California, Needles, for having adopted the Second Amendment sanctuary status in July.
Needles, which sits at the western border of Arizona’s Mohave County, declared itself a Second Amendment sanctuary city in July. Mohave County had voted to support that community’s decision on Aug. 5.
Angius noted that the phenomenon of locales declaring themselves as Second Amendment sanctuaries is being witnessed countrywide in local jurisdictions.
Selected local cities and counties in the following states have adopted Second Amendment sanctuary resolutions: California, Colorado, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Oregon Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Washington. Other states such as Alaska, Idaho, Kansas, and Wyoming have adopted laws intended to protect Americans’ rights to the Second Amendment, or to not cooperate with certain gun control measures perceived as in violation of the Second Amendment.
Angius also explained why she felt it was important for the county to discuss adopting the same nomenclature.
“Why Mohave County? Anyone who has been paying attention to what’s going on around us sees there is traction to implement gun control laws even here in Arizona. When I put this on the agenda, some people laughed, asked me why we would need this, since we have all our gun rights.
“Well things are happening at warp speed, and it happens incrementally, and then one day you look around and you say: ‘What happened to my country? What happened to my rights?’” she added. “I refuse to let that happen here in Mohave County without a fight.”