County votes for gun rights
Avoiding ‘sanctuary’ designation, commissioners OK resolution
ALPENA –The Alpena County Board of Commissioners voted 8-0 Tuesday to support a resolution that supports the Second Amendment and the public’s right to bear arms.
The resolution is not the same one presented to the county by Second Amendment supporters last month and doesn’t label the county as a “sanctuary” for guns.
The resolution is non-binding. All governments must obey the Constitution, and federal law trumps state law and local ordinances.
Several governments around the state –including Presque Isle, Montmorency, and Alcona counties — have passed similar resolutions after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer expressed support for so-called red-flag laws, which would allow judges to order guns taken away from residents who are deemed a threat to themselves or others.
Meanwhile, one candidate for Alpena County sheriff said he would not enforce any law that violated the Constitution.
Terry King, the former undersheriff challenging Sheriff Steve Kieliszewski for the Republican nomination for sheriff, said in a written statement to The News that he “would be foolish to not at least listen to the courts.”
“But I stand by my belief and previous comments that once elected sheriff of Alpena County, I will not enforce any law that violates our constitution and especially our Second Amendment rights,” King said.
Kieliszewski, meanwhile, said he is an advocate for Second Amendment rights and all other rights in the Constitution. He said it is difficult to comment on red-flag laws that don’t exist, yet. Kieliszewski added, however, that he has concerns about red-flag laws, because each circumstance or case in law enforcement is different than the other, and forcefully taking guns away from people could lead to harm to residents or police who are trying to do their job.
“Red-flag laws have the potential to be very dangerous laws,” he said. “They can put law enforcement in dangerous situations, as well as the person who is having their guns taken. I would be very hesitant to do that.”
Tuesday’s meeting was moved to the APlex because commissioners expected a large contingent of supporters of the resolution. About 100 people attended Tuesday’s meeting, including many local law enforcement officials who were there to provide security, but the meeting was peaceful and respectful.
When the resolution passed, a cheer of approval came from the audience.
Commissioner John Kozlowski said there were many resolutions to consider, many of which have been passed in other municipalities. He said the one passed Tuesday in Alpena was a combination of one that was used elsewhere and some language added to fit the Alpena area and its beliefs and needs.
Kozlowski said the resolution, which will be sent to Whitmer and other officials in Lansing and Washington, sternly calls on state and federal governing bodies to vote no on laws the would restrict or take away the right to bear arms.
“After having many conversations with constituents, law professionals, and other municipalities, this is the resolution I felt the most comfortable with,” Kozlowski said.
Commissioner Brad McRoberts, who is a former sheriff’s deputy in Alpena County, said he took an oath many years ago to protect and abide by the Constitution, and he serves under the same oath today. He said he will always support the Second Amendment, but added that he was uncomfortable with the term “sanctuary” being attached to the initial resolution presented last month.
“I am not comfortable with the sanctuary designation, because, right now with all the talk about sanctuary cities, tent cities and box cities, and the terrible mess that we have in some of those cities, I don’t want people to become confused,” he said. “But I 100% support the Second Amendment and all of the amendments.”
Commissioner Bob Adrian suggested stronger language be included in one section of the resolution that encourages elected officials at the state and federal level to “vigilantly preserve and protect those rights by rejecting any provision, law or regulation that may infringe, have the tendency to infringe or place any additional burdens on the rights of law abiding citizens to keep and bear arms.” He wanted to have the word “encourage” changed to “demand,” which he believed was more forceful and pointed.
Adrian’s fellow commissioners agreed and the change was made.
“I just think it needed more teeth,” he said.
During public comment at the beginning of the meeting, several people urged the board to pass the resolution and at one point, veterans in the room stood up in unison in support of the Second Amendment.
Steve Schulwitz can be reached at 989-358-5689 at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @ss_alpenanews.com.