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Where is the outcry about the irresponsible use of guns as lethal weapons? How many stories do we need to read to recognize that too many people see guns as a solution to their sense of hopelessness, their anger at personal rejection, their sense of revenge or their fears. As a community let’s send the message that guns are not the primary solution to solving life’s difficult experiences. What we’re hearing and watching instead is a movement to develop our towns and counties as 2nd Amendment Sanctuaries.
At the recent Town of Colfax Board meeting, advocates for the Town to become a 2nd Amendment Sanctuary indicated that their rights have been “decreased, distorted and taken away”. Evidence for this was offered by way of the example of confiscation of guns in New Orleans after Katrina. What was not mentioned is that confiscation was found to be illegal by a court, the guns were returned and the law official who ordered the confiscation quit. The rights to gun possession was in fact protected by the court when there was an infraction of the right to gun possession.
The proposed 2nd Amendment Sanctuary Resolution states the Town Board wishes to express opposition to any law that would unconstitutionally restrict the rights of the town citizens to keep and bear arms. Also, it claims the people of the town affirm support for the Sheriff to exercise sound discretion to not enforce against any citizen an unconstitutional firearms law. The resolution defines any legislation considered by the Wisconsin State Legislature that would infringe up the Right to Keep and Bear Arms and would ban the possession and/or use of any weapons including firearms, magazines, ammunition or body armor now employed by individual citizens of our Town for their defense of life, liberty and property or for the purposes of hunting, recreation or other lawful purposes . . . . .. would be a violation of the Second Amendment of the United State Constitution and of Article 1, Section 25 of the Wisconsin Constitution. This would indicate that the sheriff would have the right to determine the constitutionality of a legally enacted law. And any duly considered future state legislation that would impact gun ownership would be seen as unconstitutional. These are complex legal questions that should not be defined by this 2nd Amendment Sanctuary Resolution.
The right to own guns is already granted by the 2nd Amendment and the state of Wisconsin. Instead of putting our energies into resolutions that further define gun ownership protection, as a community let’s do the hard work of finding solutions to irresponsible lethal use of guns. Solutions to this obviously complicated issue are not simple. Please note the emphasis on multiple solutions. Expanding mental health services is only one solution. But at this point you cannot assume people will voluntarily go for or have the financial resources for counseling that may successfully resolve their dangerous intent in time. Let’s discuss our responsibility as family members, neighbors, agencies charged with protecting lives to reach out to individuals who feel betrayed, rejected or hopeless and see guns as the solution to their life’s experience. Watching the local energy put into the fear of confiscation of guns owned by responsible gun owners is not addressing the mass killings that are too often happening. What was accomplished to make our community safer when at our town board meeting alternatives to 2nd Amendment Sanctuary Resolutions were presented and advocates for 2nd Amendment Sanctuary Resolution cursed, made personal accusations, and angrily retorted about the unconstitutionality of any other alternative than theirs? What did that solve?