County OKs amended gun resolution
HARRISVILLE — Alcona County will not be known as a Second Amendment sanctuary, as several commissioners took issue with the connotation of the word.
Instead, commissioners on Wednesday unanimously supported an amended resolution that struck the word “sanctuary” but declared the county’s support for the Second Amendment, the county sheriff, the county prosecutor, and other law enforcement entities that may function in the county. Many supporters of the original resolution expressed disappointment in the decision.
Mikado resident David Adams had asked the board to support a resolution to make the county a Second Amendment sanctuary, asking Sheriff Scott Stephenson and Prosecutor Thomas Weichel to use their discretion “to not enforce against any citizen any unconstitutional firearms law.”
Commissioner Carolyn Brummund, who is a gun owner, proposed the amendment to the resolution, saying she did not like the terminology “sanctuary.”
Brummund said that, in everything she could find, a sanctuary becomes a haven for those who are doing wrong.
Brummund said that, while she assumed everyone in attendance was law-abiding and responsible gun owners, she was concerned about the perception the word sanctuary would have on those who are not county residents.
“That’s my only hesitation — that (term) sanctuary,” she said. “I’m afraid it’s going to be a drawing card for people that we don’t want in our community, people who don’t take care of their guns, who are anxious to misuse or abuse the use of that gun.”
Alpena County has postponed a vote on a Second Amendment sanctuary resolution until later this month, while Presque Isle County approved the resolution in a split vote. Both meetings were heavily attended.
Several counties have considered similar resolutions after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer expressed support for so-called red-flag laws that allow judges to temporarily take away someone’s firearms if they’re ruled a danger to themselves or others.
The resolutions are non-binding. All governments must abide by the Constitution, and federal law trumps state law and local ordinances.
On Wednesday, Alcona County Commissioner Dan Gauthier, an avid hunter, also expressed he did not like having the word sanctuary” in the resolution. Gauthier said he has already sworn to uphold the Second Amendment and struggled to figure out why he needs to sign a resolution so the public can understand he supports the Second Amendment.
“I totally understand where everybody is coming from,” he said. “I’m as concerned as everybody else. But we already support the Second Amendment, we support all of our amendments, and to sign a piece of paper that is really worthless, as far as I’m concerned, I struggle with that.”
Vice Chairman Adam Brege brought attention to a media release from Scott Stephenson and Weichel saying it would not be appropriate for a prosecutor or sheriff to announce decisions on unknown future scenarios.
“What we cannot do is to take a pledge that we will try and interpret future laws that may be perceived by some as an unconstitutional infringement upon our Second Amendment rights,” the sheriff and prosecutor stated. “As police officers and prosecutors, we use our common sense and discretion every day when deciding what needs to be investigated and/or charged as a violation of the law.”
Chairman Craig Johnston said the word sanctuary also bothers him because the left has used the language — several cities led by Democrats have declared themselves sanctuary cities for undocumented immigrants.
Johnston said the word taints the message supporters of the Second Amendment are trying to get across. Johnston said he is 100% in support of the Second Amendment.
“This resolution, after talking to the prosecutor and the sheriff, and the oath that all of us took here, it pretty much tells me right away that I’m going to have to violate the Constitution if there’s something I don’t agree with,” Johnston said. “I can’t do that either, preemptively. We live in a country of laws, processes, and, right now I know there’s a resolution moving its way through the House of Representatives at the state level. I think our energies should be focused both individually and as groups contacting our legislators, being present there, paying your NRA dues — doing whatever you can to influence your legislators — both senators and representatives.”
A vote to table the resolution until the next board meeting failed. Commissioner Gary Wnuk asked the board to table the decision to allow the board the time to talk about it and get it right.
Several residents expressed their disappointment with the board’s decision to pass the amended resolution. More than 30 residents packed into the commissioner’s room and spilled into the hallways.
Mikado resident Warren Everett said they wanted to be included with other counties who have declared themselves Second Amendment sanctuaries.
“It’s like being from Alcona County, and also being from Michigan — it’s all one and the same,” he said. “We just wanted to be among those people in those other counties that are in the group of Second Amendment sanctuary counties.”
“So you can use it in any way you want,” Curtis Township resident Jim White said of the word sanctuary. “None of us here want people with guns who aren’t supposed to have them to have sanctuary here like criminals can in a sanctuary city.”
White said the media has people brainwashed as to what the word sanctuary means and that people are scared of it. He said taking the word sanctuary out of the resolution doesn’t change his mind.
Mikado resident Carrie Mullins, who was also with the Alcona County Republicans, said she had hoped commissioners would passed the resolution as it was worded, so they could pass an ordinance that would enforce the resolution. Mullins presented the sample ordinance to the board for consideration in the future.
A petition with signatures from nearly 800 residents who could not attend the meeting asking commissioners to support the resolution was also presented to commissioners.
Crystal Nelson can be reached at 989-358-5687 or email@example.com.