STANDING ROOM ONLY

It was standing room only on Feb. 5 in the Iosco County Board of Commissioners’ meeting room, as a group supporting a Second Amendment resolution eagerly anticipated the board’s vote on the resolution.

TAWAS CITY – Iosco County has joined a growing list of so-called “Second Amendment Sanctuary Counties” in Michigan, counties that have passed resolutions promising to uphold the second amendment and to not enforce perceived laws that are unconstitutional.

The Iosco County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to approve a resolution stating that the county is a sanctuary county during its Feb. 5 meeting. The resolution was originally given to the county for approval by members of a group, which is working to get the resolution passed in every one of Michigan’s 83 counties.

In addition to declaring the county a sanctuary county, the resolution stated that “this board affirms its support for the Iosco County Sheriff and Iosco County Prosecuting Attorney, in the exercise of their sound discretion to not enforce against any citizen an unconstitutional law.”

Before the vote, commissioners listened to a number of public comments from individuals in the packed Board of Commissioners conference room, where there was standing room only. Many of those in attendance were not residents of the county, but individuals traveling around the state to attend various board of commissioners meetings to show support for the movement.

Chairman Robert Huebel opened the meeting asking if there were spokespeople willing to talk for the group. One who spoke was Burleigh Township resident David Chandler. Chandler, who has previously run for a state representative seat, said he was thankful and hopeful that the county would approve the second amendment resolution.

“I think its a really great thing,” he said. “I think as you can see we are all here in support of it, and this is our county and we cannot allow other powers to dictate how we run things here. We have a right here as our own power. We elected you to represent us, not to be some state agency, and I applaud you.”

Earl Lackie, who is running for the 5th Congressional District in Michigan, said he is working with committees pushing the Second Amendment resolutions. Lackie, who resides in Flint, said he had a law enforcement background. He said guns are important in society and that he learned about them from a young age. He said gun violence issues, like mass shootings, are not caused by guns but by lapses in mental health.

“I applaud you for going with us 100 percent here, one of the things that the police do not want to hear are shots fired,” he said. “As (lawmakers) try to pass these red flag laws, we have lost lives because of some of these laws.”

Lackie is referencing the so-called “red flag laws” that have been enacted at least 17 states that were created by lawmakers who said they were put in place to protect the public from mass shootings and other gun violence.

As reported by the New York Times, red flag laws are “state laws that authorize courts to issue a special type of protection order, allowing the police to temporarily confiscate firearms from people who are deemed by a judge to be a danger to themselves or to others.”

These requests can come from concerned relatives, friends or even law enforcement about individuals who “owns one or more guns and has expressed suicidal thoughts or discussed shooting people.”

Before the 2018 Stoneman Douglas High School Shooting in, Parkland, Fla., only a handful of states had enacted red flag laws. In that shooting, 17 individuals, including students and teachers, were massacred (with 17 more individuals suffering gunshot wounds and other injuries). The shooter, who faces 17 capital  murder charges, was continually reported to the police as a public danger before the incident.

Many in the Second Amendment movement, however, have said the laws are unconstitutional and go too far.

When asked by resident Ken Demar what the county would do in an event a perceived unconstitutional law was enacted concerning gun laws, Huebel said residents could expect the sheriff department to stand behind them.

Iosco County Sheriff Allan MacGregor said he would uphold the constitution.

“I’m a gun advocate,” he said. “If someone takes your guns that’s up to you, but it won’t be us.”

Huebel told the group that he has been hunting and enjoying the use of firearms with his children for many years, including training them on their safe use.

“I take pride in that fact so I’m fully on board with what this is saying,” he said.

Vice Chairman Jay O’Farrell said there has been a lot of response from various commissioners in the state wanting to get on board with the resolution. 

I sit on a lot of committees and it’s unbelievable the commissioners in other counties that want a copy of this, but this will be sent to the governor, all the state legislators, that represent us,” he said. “The word is going to be getting out fast; this is a document that has lasted over 200 years, and it ain’t no time to change it.”

Iosco County may be the latest county to join the list in Michigan, with eight counties passing 2nd Amendment resolutions, and four townships following suit, but not all counties are on board.

As reported in The Alpena News, Alcona County struck the word “sanctuary” from its resolution, which expressed support of the second amendment, much to the dismay of supporters. Also reported in that publication, Alpena County voted to postpone the resolution.

Commissioner Terry Dutcher said that most of the state’s counties are facing the resolution, and most are on board.

“One county felt that it undermined the authority of the sheriff and prosecuting attorney, but ours does not do that,” he said. “It states specifically it doesn’t enforce any outside laws that would force them to adopt the second amendment.”

After discussion, Dutcher cast a motion to approve the resolution and was seconded by Commissioner John Moehring. The motion passed unanimously.