Editorial roundup: Gun sanctuaries — GOP push is unwise, unsafe, unconstitutional

Published 10:12 pm Tuesday, January 28, 2020

An ill-advised push into county governance by GOP state lawmakers seeking publicity for so-called “sanctuary counties” for Second Amendment rights should be rejected by counties far and wide.

GOP Rep. Shane Mekeland, Clear Lake; Sen. Andrew Mathews, Princeton; and House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt, Crown; sent a letter recently to the Sherburne County Board asking it declare the county a “Second Amendment Sanctuary” for new gun laws that the group thinks would be unconstitutional.

There are some simply understood reasons why the request should be rejected and that the theory would not stand legal muster.

The Constitution’s Supremacy Clause, Article VI, Clause 2, states federal laws and treaties made pursuant to the Constitution should be the “supreme Law of the Land” and take precedent over conflicting state laws.

The legislators seem to think they have secured the all-knowing wisdom of the Supreme Court as federal laws could not be rejected unless they were found to be unconstitutional. So we’re not sure how Sherburne County could willingly fail to enforce federal laws barring an action by the Supreme Court.

We doubt the County Board is willing to accept the word of these legislators on matters of jurisprudence over the wisdom of U.S. Supreme Court.

In fact, failure to enforce the law would likely be malfeasance at best by Sherburne County law enforcement, illegal at worst. Those choices don’t seem like good options for law enforcement or the people of Sherburne County.

A declaration to reject federal law would also bring a barrage of lawsuits from federal attorneys and private citizens.

Rep. Mekeland told Minnesota Public Radio: “It’s a God given right to bear arms and defend yourself.” Not really. The right to bear arms is given by the Constitution, the same Constitution Mekeland wants local officials to ignore given the Supremacy Clause.

And the Supreme Court has ruled that the Second Amendment is not an absolute right and can be limited and has been in many cases.

It’s easy to pass off the GOP legislators’ push as a publicity stunt, but it’s dangerous in that it fuels a narrative that government is somehow going to take your guns and that the world, including Sherburne County, is a dangerous place so more guns are needed.

Sherburne County and other counties in Minnesota should reject these bogus calls to be Second Amendment sanctuaries.


— The Free Press of Mankato, Jan. 24


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Editorials from newspapers around the state of Minnesota.

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