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Imitation: The Sincerest Flattery

Map of current and proposed red flag law states

The progressive side of the American political debate has declared itself and its policies immune to federal, state, and sometimes even local laws. It does this in small ways as well as large ones. This ranges from violent suppression of the Freedom of Speech rights of conservative students and pundits on college campuses to the creation of sanctuary cities and states. This sanctuary involves several things, but it mostly revolves around illegal immigrants and federal laws regarding them.

Map of current and proposed red flag law states
As of the end of 2018, 13 states had passed “Red Flag” laws. Mostly the usual suspects on the left coast and New England; but, Florida is also on that list. Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Ohio are currently considering such rubbish.

From a federal perspective, it is illegal to enter the country without an appropriate visa or a prearranged political exemption. California completely invalidates this with a welcome-arms approach, and then actively works to thwart federal officials from enforcing those laws. There are even state laws barring local and state law enforcement officials from cooperating with federal authorities with regard to illegal aliens.

In a great “turnabout is fair play” decision, many blue states have county sheriffs declaring their counties sanctuaries on all things regarding state gun control laws. These sheriffs have publicly stated that many laws enacted or currently up for vote will be deemed invalid in their counties. Some have specifically stated that any officer or deputy working with the state officials will be fired. Others have been more direct in their statements on the subject.

The vast majority of these sheriffs are elected officials who run the law enforcement in red counties of blue states. The divide is between the big-city Democrats and the rural conservatives. The sheriffs see their duty as protecting and serving the citizens of their county and enforcing the standards of the local conservative voters against the dictates of the big city Democratic machine. Most also reference the Second Amendment as their reason for refusing to enforce what they view as “unconstitutional” laws.

There are several types of laws that are being challenged in this way. One set is age limits on purchases of long guns by those under the age of 21. Another is the crop of “Red Flag” laws that have zero due-process provisions. The last large area of these nullified laws regard enhanced background checks or largely expanded requirements for using background checks for the transfer in possession (not ownership) of a gun.

Handgun lying over a copy of the United States constitution and the American flag.
Gun control is as alive and strong as it has ever been. Do not be fooled. It is a cancer. Often being harbored in the body of America and unseen until it rears its ugly head.

In Oregon, eight counties’ legislators have backed sanctuary sheriffs. Roughly, 20 of Washington State’s sheriffs have refused to enforce the new gun laws, and five county legislators officially backed them with legislation. New Mexico has seen more than 20 of its 33 counties pass laws giving the sheriff discretion to determine which gun laws are unconstitutional.

Illinois is also active in this area, but its actions are more muted as the new gun legislation has not yet been passed. There are also groups in California, New York, Idaho, and Iowa that are sharing information with those who have already taken a stand. They are carefully tracking proposed local laws and what occurs in the areas that have already declared their defiance.

On the surface, this is a great thing. Local elected officials are standing up for the Constitution, the preservation of rights of the electorate, and doing it despite intense negative media coverage.

I stand in solidarity with this course of action. It does two things. First, it very effectively draws a line in the sand. This will force lawsuits or other legal action and force courts to determine who is correct. Our side will win some and lose others.

Second Amendment and sanctuary gun counties
It seems the government only wants to pass laws to strip the weapons from honest gun owners. I have yet to hear of a single law being proposed that seeks to remove guns from the hands of criminals. Have you?

This will set up a Supreme Court date where further incorporation of the Second Amendment will have to be determined. This of course assumes the Supreme Court doesn’t punt, again.

Second, it uses the nullification efforts of the left against them. If the sheriffs cannot nullify state laws that violate the U.S. Constitution, how can state immigration sanctuary laws be legal when the federal laws they void are constitutionally legitimate?

The true downside to this is slightly less obvious. When one group unilaterally refuses to enforce a set of laws and the courts back them despite precedent, this is the first step toward a nation of men, not a nation of laws. When the other side nullifies a different set of laws, regardless of how the courts act, the second step has been taken on the path to a Banana Republic.

Note, I am not saying the sheriffs shouldn’t do what they are doing. They are doing what must be done. I am simply stating that the Republic is getting much closer to the cliff with each reaction to the grand overreach of our “pen and a phone” would-be dictators.

Do you agree with the author? Is the Republic close to the edge of the cliff? What’s your opinion of sanctuary gun counties or cities? Share your answers and analysis of the system in the comment section.

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Comments (27)

  1. Laws are the tool we use to enforce the social contract we have with each other. Arbitrarily deciding to no longer enforce the law is stating that the contract is no longer binding (to you). This makes you a criminal. A state refusing to abide by the contract with the federal government is a serious issue. Which portions of the contract will you support? The one where I give you money, but you enforce only the rules you agree with? How is a citizen supposed to know if you are enforcing a particular law today? Should I obey the speed limit today or does it not apply because someone has decided they don’t agree with it? This is the reason for the U.S. Civil War. The states have an agreement with the federal government at many levels. This refusal to acknowledge the contract whether by the state or by a sheriff is anarchy. What will happen when the federal government moves to enforce federal laws against marijuana distribution? (The states apparently disagree with this as well) Will states rights individuals pick up arms to continue their pot distribution “rights”? To describe these actions to defy federal agreements as a “slippery slope” does not begin to cover how serious an issue this is. That it is being performed by individuals supposedly familiar with law and supposedly representing law and the social contract should be frightening to all citizens. The author’s statement that these issues will be decided in the courts is only valid if some entity is willing to enforce the decisions. What if some sheriff decides this decision is not valid? If you don’t like a law — change it —– if you can’t change it then it is still law and should be enforced or we have anarchy and our society collapses like some third world county.

  2. I am a citizen of California, Alameda County. I have been a firearm owner, enthusiast and a supporter of the Right to Carry Concealed without restriction (though I agree on common sense regulations on obtaining a CCW) as well as I have trained others in the safe use of firearms for 35 years.

    I am also what you would call a “progressive”. I am not in agreement with our current immigration policies nor do I think that the old ones worked as well. I support immigration. That is how my Grandparents came to this country.

    We live in a Great Republic. Our States are imbued with hard and fast rights that allow the local population to set rules and regulations (within the confines of our Constitution, as they see fit). That being said, the wholesale nullification of the Constitution on the Federal level AND the local level must stop.

    I am Pro-Choice. I believe that this is a woman’s right to make her own determination. I may not have made that same choice, I may not agree with it but I defend their right to make that choice for themselves. Several States have passed draconian laws in an effort to end run around SCOTUS. That is wrong.

    On immigration, I believe that the Federal Government has over reached with their powers. The response at the local level, while compassionate, is a total over reach as well. These kinds of things erode our Republic. They erode our Constitution.

    I have the right to Keep and Bear Arms. I do believe in common sense firearm laws. Not knee jerk reaction laws but real regulations that allow people to own and carry their firearms in a well trained and responsible way. I have to be honest with you all… with what has been happening with our school shootings, I do not want to see knee jerk reactions but we MUST do something as a nation. One thing that I believe is that (and let’s not get into a semantic argument about semi-auto and selective fire) military grade arms do not belong in the hands of the general public. Handguns… fine. Hunting arms… fine. Shot-guns… fine. I do not believe that 10 round magazine limits will help in the long run. They are just a “feel good” action. Then again, as a well trained citizen, I have always believed (and taught my students) that if you are somewhere that you need more than 10 rounds, you are somewhere you do not belong and your situational awareness had better be well trained. I have seen to many poorly trained people simply buy a firearm and think that they are ready. I have stopped more idiots at the range, doing stupid things over the years than you would imagine. I stop them, I explain what they are doing wrong and why it is dangerous and I give them a copy of safe firearm handling that I keep in my range bag. I urge them to seek real training (which, if we made a condition of carrying a firearm, would open up job opportunities for all sorts of former PO’s and Military Personnel to become said trainers). I do believe in common sense firearm regulations BUT common sense, NOT knee jerk reaction, feel good, draconian laws.

    My State allows for the issuance of CCW’s. Our local Sheriffs in CoCo county, SF county, Alameda county, etc… have an “agreement” to not issue any (though I see them issued to political supporters) This is totally wrong!!!! This erodes our Republic and our Constitution as well. I demand my Rights!!!!

    I would like to see our Nation return to the Rule of Law. Return to our status as the world’s premier functioning Republic and to see common sense prevail. This dance of Local trying to overcome Federal is Balkanizing our Nation. You see, I believe that the Russians (Putin in particular) have never given up on the cold war and are making an attempt to destroy our Nation by pitting us against each other. They are causing us to not simply disagree and then discuss and debate (with respect and civility)… they are causing us to see each other as the “enemy within” and are tearing the fabric of our Republic apart.

    You and I may not agree on many issues but on the issue of CCW and common sense firearm ownership, we most certainly agree.

    I may applaud local governments attempts to end run around a broken immigration system that treats people with disregard to human rights and strips them of their dignity. I may applaud their attempts at maintaining our national embrace of immigrants as is enshrined on The Statue of Liberty. However, it erodes our Constitution and our Republic.

    It would be THE HEIGHT OF HYPOCRISY for me to not applaud local Sheriffs as they apply the same tactics to firearms in their localities (though it has gone the other way in my local counties). This is not a Democrat vs. Republican thing. I know many city dwelling Democrats who own firearms. Hell, I trained a bunch of them on basic safety, handling and the basics of shooting. I believe that this i another erosion of our Republic but I will NOT be a hypocrite and say it is fine for immigration but not fine for firearms. I maintain my integrity.

    In the end… all of this local end-running has to stop. Local firearm laws should prevail. it is the Will of the People in that locale. The Federal Government should pass a law on national recognition of reciprocity for CCW holders. My local Sheriffs should follow my Great State of California’s Constitution and state level laws that allow me to apply for and gain a CCW. Our rights as firearm owners come with great responsibility. I want to see mandatory training included (and I don’t want to see end runs like making that training expensive nor what California is doing on trying to purchase ammo and making it harder and harder).

    Yes, I want to see the problem of school shootings to be tackled on many levels. It is not a simple problem but a complex one with many issues and moving parts. If we distill it down to a single issue, we will get nowhere and our children will still die (my deepest respect goes out to that young teenager who threw himself at a shooter in order to save others and gave his life in the process. That young Hispanic man, a child of immigrants, is a true hero).

    This is not a safe world. My female friends are not safe from sexual assault. They would be if I could arm them and they could stay that way anywhere they wished… and they were trained.

    Now there is a key point… I do not think that anyone here would argue that constant training is critical, as shooting and the ability to use a firearm in a dangerous situation is a perishable skill. I would like to see universal rights to CCW along with a ban on anyone with is adjudged a danger to society (the severely mentally ill, any coward who would beat up his wife/girlfriend, etc…) Do that and you lose your right. Be a good citizen who abides by the laws and nothing should abridge your right to a CCW.

    We may not agree on many things on a social level. Yes, I am a progressive in most things. I won’t go into the entire platform. I will say this… YOU who disagree with me… YOU are MY FELLOW AMERICANS and I will treat you with respect and defend your right to believe and speak your minds with my dying breath, (so long as you are not trying to abridge the Constitutional Rights that others have as well as the Rights granted by local government). We can debate with respect.

    This Great Republic of ours was given to us by our founding fathers. When Ben Franklin was asked by a woman, in the street, what kind of government they had give us, he replied “Madam, a Republic… if you can keep it”. Can we keep it? In the face of foreign meddling on the internet, can we keep it? In the face of Russian manipulation of our populaton, through the internet, can we keep it? Can we be fellow citizens? Can we make sure that all citizens’ Rights are respected? Can we protect people who are being oppressed… even though other people may not agree on their lifestyle or they may not like that their english is broken or non-exitant (like my Great Grandmother’s). Can we be adult enough to understand that there are people who live different lifestyles and that, while we may not understand them or we may find them personally distasteful, we be adult enough to accept that it is thier Right. Can we be adult enough to remember that there is a CLEAR separation of Church and State? Can we be adult enough to keep our religious beliefs OUR beliefs and not insist that others follow them (that, is my definition of sharia law, a thing I find disgusting). Can we?! Can we make our Representatives, who work for US, work together like they used to and get their jobs done. They are NOT our leaders, They work for us. We employ them. They were elected by US to do a job for US. Can we do that? Can we get big money out of politics so that OUR votes begin to count again?

    Yes, I have gone far afield in this response. Mostly because I want to reach my hand across the aisle and grasp yours and talk. Talk with civility and respect.

    While I agree with the spirit of local end runs around certain laws, be they on immigration or on firearms rights I see that this is improper and as hurting our Republic.

    In the end… I want my CCW… but I want to get it because it is My Right and not because my local county Sheriff took an end run (and remember, my local county Sheriffs did the same end run around my rights by agreeing to NOT follow State law and allow for CCW’s).

    This was a lot. I know. I hope that there are not too many typos. I also hope that we can all debate with respect like Americans and not take “school yard” sides like children. My hand is out. Come and take it and let’s talk with civility.

    With the Deepest respect to My fellow Citizen’s,

    Bernard J. RIzzo
    San Leandro, CA

  3. In a similar twist of State overreach, as a result of the recent Duncan v Becerra lawsuit, on March 29, 2019, the US District Court enjoined (threw out) the entire California Penal Code section 32310, which dictated the limits on gun magazines. That same judge stayed his own ruling one week later. Thus, for one week, Californians were able to purchase standard (i.e., 30 rounds for AR15) and high capacity magazines (i.e., 100 round drums). In that one week, NRA estimates that over 2 million of those larger capacity (over 10 rounds) magazines were imported into California and can continue to be legally used.

    How did that happen? California had the 10 round limit since the 1990s. Idiot Governor Newsome, while deputy Governor, got cute and put up an initiative to ban possession of all magazines over 10 rounds – Grandfathered in magazines would also be banned. The US District spanked him good. The decision is worth the read, if you have time – See link.

    http://michellawyers.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Duncan-2019-03-29-Order-Granting-Plaintiffs-MSJ.pdf

    Ken

  4. Red flag laws strip citizens of their 2A right without due process. The idea behind thes laws is to prevent gun violence from people who should not have them – an extremely small percentage of legal gun owners, but the intent and actual outcome, like many laws and government programs these laws are ripe for abuse. Think about how these situations can trigger a legal and financial nightmare for an unspecting, legal gun owner: An upset ex-spouse, a disgruntled employee, an angry neighbor. Because this is the real world and real situations I predict many more people will be affected adversely by this law than those it will help.

  5. I think it is a direct attack on our rights and makes it where anyone can just lie to get all you worked many many yr’s to collect taken away .This will be abuse of power and will not stop until we all make a stand .They have already killed 1 innocent man that i know of over this BS law if we wanna stay free the time to fight may be coming soon for our rights and freedoms.

  6. I think it should be obvious to any clear thinking person that the only person who can stop a bad person from committing a crime is a good person with the capability to stop the bad person. That being said, I pose this question “How can a 100 lb grandmother stop a 250 lb intruder, with violent intent, in her home?”. I leave the answer up to you. My answer to the grandmother’s delima is simple, counter the threat with superior force, logically a suitable firearm and the training and familiarity to deploy it.
    The only thing a violent criminal understands is a superior violent threat or response. That is why all law enforcement officers, in the United States of America, are armed. The Second Amendment was written into law for just that reason.

  7. Using Concord or Lexington as an example a militia is a group of members of a community voluntarily banding together electing its officers for the defense of their community. If a person acts outside of the community standards, then such person is not part the community and therefore not possibly part of a militia so constitutionally the Second Amendment does not hold for the hairball. No other laws need apply.

    An explanation is wanted as to how ballot does not require the same level of wisdom and maturity as those limiting weapons of certain types to those aged 21 or older.

  8. I strenuously object to your characterization of those of us on the
    “progressive side of the American political debate.” Your stated mission is to
    “provide information – not opinions .” You are failing in that mission.

  9. The map above is incorrect! Colorado and its elected Democrats, crazy with power after winning big in the most recent elections, have already passed their cherished ERPO law, cutting our Constitutional protections to the quick. Thankfully, over a dozen county sheriffs in Colorado have declared their formal opposition to this new, unconstitutional law, and stated they will be 2nd Amendment sanctuary places. God bless them all for their courage!!

  10. The Cities like California, that are soft on crime, are going to turn those cities into crime ridden sewers. What will these cities do? They will take guns away from decent, honest citizens. The criminals will still have their guns. Those States and Cities are pro-criminal!

  11. I greatly support the Sheriff department! They are the only ones that can and should enforce the laws,
    and they are the only ones that stand between the citizens and corrupt and unjust laws passed by a corrupted , overstepping government few.
    The police, both city and state work for these corrupted government politicians, who very rarely uphold what they promised to the people.

  12. How can the sherriff overrule a legislated law? What can be done to recall an elected official (sherriff)? Is there a legal redimedy to stop a political elected official from declaring a sanctuary city or a version of gun control in violation of the 2nd ammendent!

  13. If a Law is wrong and NOT in the best interest of the people, then it needs to be corrected, one way, or another. Going against any law that “infringes” the 2nd Amendment is not a step closer to the cliff. It’s a step in the opposite direction and that is away from the cliff’s edge onto more solid ground of security and freedom.

  14. Part of the reason that our country exists is the reasonable exportation that we have the right to face an accuser in a court of law. RED Laws take this right away from citizens of the US. Somebody that yippy don’t even know can make a a statement against you and if the court is declined, you could have your weapons seized. No facing your accuser, no day in court, and then you have to prove you are okay too have your weapons back.
    Somehow this seems constitutionally prohibited. Where is the “innocent until proven guilty”? Where is your 6th Amendment rights to trial. By the 2nd amendment we have the right to have and hold weapons, but it seems now that because you exercise this right you lose all other constitutional rights because the Red Laws don’t require any proof that you are dangerous to yourself or others.

  15. I agree with this author. But would go a long way further.
    It is time that the Supreme Court defines these laws permanently. The bill of right, The US constitution, is not to be interpreted or modified. It is the glue that is supposed to bond our country. Anyone that would change it or not follow it should be dealt with according to the laws set forth by it. That includes congress or the Supreme Court.

  16. The Democrats are intentionally leaving our borders open and promising Healthcare and social benefits to illegals to encourage them to vote in places that voter ID is not required. Talk about foreign influence on us elections. So taking a stand in this way fprcing the courts to make a decision on who has to upholds the laws including Sanctuary cities is a great idea.

  17. I support and STAND with the sheriff’s that oppose the laws that deny due process for the accused! No one in their right mind wants firearms in the hands of a mentally unstable person but many of these “Laws” require only a “Third Party” accusation and WITHOUT proof for the weapons to be seized and WITHOUT the accused given a right to prove otherwise beforehand! The Sheriffs know first hand what the effects of a firearm in the hands of a criminal or mentally unstable person can/will do and they no more want to see those people with a firearm than the rest of us! We ARE a “Nation Of Laws” and one of the key words in our constitution AND the implementation of ANY law are the words DUE PROCESS! ANARCHY exists where due process doesn’t and to deny due process to anyone puts us on the path to Anarchy. The “Old Joke” among law enforcement is “We need to give the guilty Bastards a fair trial”! LOL I personally fear those that fear firearms as they are NOTHING more than a tool for a job and NOT some kind of DEMONIZED thing to be feared as they do not operate without the HAND OF MAN UPON THEM! People control is what’s needed not more gun control just due to that very fact!

  18. Seems to me that a similar thing occurred back in the 50s and 60s. At that time, some folks named Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson rammed the national guard and the FBI down the throats of those who refused to kowtow to federal authority. But, that was a liberal cause and both liberal and conservative judges applied the law even when it was difficult for some to do so.

    Today, things are a bit different because the electorate has been asleep at the switch while people named Clinton and B-Zero packed the courts with judges who are nothing more than prostitutes for the left. Then, you have a Supreme Court which seems to be afraid to take a proactive stance because they continue to refuse to accept cases with important and timely issues. Instead, they sit on their hands and wait. Wait for what? For the republic to disintegrate? These situations are well beyond what they term as being “ripe!” They move slow enough already without adding procrastination to the mix!

    It is very frustrating to see the Supreme Court sit idly by while judges in the Ninth Circuit (and elsewhere) continue to make illegitimate ruling after illegitimate ruling based not on law but on supposition, politics and other non-sensical BS. It is time for the Supreme Court to put an end to this bastardization of process. Both for immigration and for Second Amendment issues. Hell, it’s past time!

    We are headed toward anarchy. In some areas (and in some segments of the population), we are already there! Keep your arms cleaned and loaded . . . We do have two things going for us: We are on the right side of both issues and, by definition, we are the ones who are better equipped to deal with anarchy.

  19. Yes, I do agree and I do live in a gun sanctuary county, one of the first. What is happening in my state is an ongoing crusade to disarm us and control us, to make a larger population docile, weak willed and controllable through universal income and mushrooms so we can all stay home, buy cheap Chinese crap and have no opposing opinion of our own. No independent thought of our own. Also know that those in power will always have a security detail ready to defend their hypocritical assess.

  20. If we had a supreme court that would do its job and stop this insanity. Sanctuary states should be illegal and ruled by the Supreme court. The REAL punishments for those states like arrest the Governor or mayor. If his/her replacement also violates law arrest him to until they get a leader that doesn’t violate the law. . Or yes we will have a banana republic soon enough. No I dont like these laws BUT I dont like these laws. That’s insane.

  21. Yes, I believe we are on the edge of the cliff as a country, left and right are so sharply divided now I don’t know if there is any return, I just see us going farther and farther apart, and I can forsee Civil War as the result.

  22. I’ve not thought to compare the “Red Flag” legislation to the “Sanctuary” declarations. I don’t believe that a State or Municipality has the right to negate Federal Law concerning Illegal Immigration, and I still believe the offending powers that push this should be subject to arrest, trial and imprisonment if found guilty. It’s interesting to note, that the will/desires of the residents of these States and cities are not in favor of the declaration (for the most part), thus we have elected officials ignoring the will of their constituency.
    The same holds true for the Red Flag Laws. It’s a strictly political move that’s largely not in favor with the entire State’s population, the backers being in the larger cities. Red Flags pose several problems, the ignoring/denial of Due Process being only one of the several problems. Allowing anonymous complaints to be acted upon is problematic as well, and the sub rosa decision to act upon the complaint violates the accused’s right to face their accuser. The sad thing about this legislation is that it will be years before it is challenged before SCOTUS. Red Flag Laws are being assumed by the Legislature as bring within the State’s rights based upon Pressar v. Illinois’s erroneous and flawed SCOTUS decision. A decision I would like to see challenged due to the majorities absurd reasoning. Until such time, I’m afraid we’ll witness a repeat of accused refusing to comply. So far, only the accused are losing their life to date, but it’s just a matter of time before LEO’s will also fall victim to this travesty. For myself, ERPO’s aren’t the answer, mainly because the emphasis is placed on confiscation, not on Mental Health. The fact that a Judge, LEO and complainer are making what is essentially an uneducated opinion of whether someone’s s risk to themselves is diagnosing a condition that traditionally and legally, is not their’s to make. Smacks of practicing medicine without a license. Without a licensed Health Care Provider making that determination of risk, the courts, LEO’s, and accusers are making a determination that under most State’s laws is itself a crime. It’s on par with fining someone with a sports car with a ticket/summons simply because they might break the law by speeding, so we’re just writing the ticket and fining you because you have the potential to exceed the speed limit.

  23. Our right to own and bare arms comes from GOD, not man. It’s a universal right of self protection of self, family and neighbors and country from enemies both foreign and domestic. Nuff said.

  24. And that includes even California’s rural counties. Our county sheriff has his posted on the county SO web page. If necessary, he stated, he will deputize every pro 2A person in the county. He was just re-elected after making that statement.

    The county board voted NOT to be a sanctuary county, and formally added that they would comply with the feds.

    There are some laws over which we have no control, like background checks, paying fees, etc. On the other hand, just as the Founding Fathers believed, CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE is alive and well in America, and, according to contacts overseas, it’s also alive and well in England, Ireland, and Australia as well. Our media totally misrepresents the facts of gun control in those countries. In every US location where harsh gun controls have been instituted, there are major examples of civil disobedience in action.

    For anyone who remembers the story of Paul Revere, most do not recall that on the night of his ride (18 April 1775) his purpose was to sound the alarm that British troops had been dispatched under orders to confiscate all firearms and munitions in the hands of the colonists and to arrest the Founders. Thee following day, a unit was confronted by armed colonists, a shot rang out, men were killed or wounded, and that shot was heard around the world on the day when the American Revolution was begun.

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