Second Amendment sanctuary movement comes to Ohio

A movement that has seen growth across the United States has come to Ohio in response to efforts to pass gun control laws in the Buckeye State, including Gov. Mike DeWine's SB 221, dubbed "STRONG Ohio."

"Second Amendment sanctuary" is an idea inspired by "sanctuary cities" that refuse to assist the federal government in efforts to enforce immigration laws. A Second Amendment sanctuary is a city or county that declares it will refuse to enforce any new gun control laws passed by the state or federal government.

Thus far in Ohio, commissioners in Clermont, JacksonLawrence, Meigs, and Scioto counties, along with trustees in Perry County's Jackson Township, have declared themselves to be Second Amendment sanctuaries. Commissioners in Crawford, Muskingum, PikePrebleRoss and Vinton counties are also considering passing similar resolutions.

We understand the sentiments behind this movement, and see these efforts as a natural result of gun control radicals pushing too hard against Constitutional rights.

While it's always encouraging to hear people talking about limiting governmental overreach, it is important to remember that these declarations are largely symbolic - political statements which have no force of law. They do not change the laws of the counties in which they are passed, and they do not override state and federal gun regulations or exempt local law enforcement from being required to uphold them. In short, as with any other form of civil disobedience, if you break the law, you can be held accountable. 

However, like all protests, sanctuary resolutions send a signal to the government that citizens disagree with certain laws. And if local law enforcement and local prosecutors are on board, such a resolution is effective in principle, because if no one is being arrested and no one is being prosecuted, then the effect is that it is working, just like sanctuary cities.

As BFA Leader Tom Hall puts it, "this is basically a pledge of civil disobedience. Those that protected Anne Frank were breaking the law; those that murdered her were obeying the law. These resolutions are statements, pledges to NOT enforce or allow enforcement of any further restrictions. We’ve allowed politics to be played with natural rights for far too long as Americans and it’s time those of us that have a clue what they are use our voice and the power inherent in that voice."

Statewide preemption is Ohio's codified legal bulwark against local gun control. Buckeye Firearms Association is proud to have worked for passage of Ohio's statewide preemption law in 2006, and to have worked for passage of improvements to strengthen the preemption law last year. Both times, passage of these bills required the state legislature to override the veto of a Republican governor.

Chad D. Baus served as Buckeye Firearms Association Secretary from 2013-2019. He is co-founder of BFA-PAC, and served as its Vice Chairman for 15 years. He is the editor of BuckeyeFirearms.org, which received the Outdoor Writers of Ohio 2013 Supporting Member Award for Best Website, and is also an NRA-certified firearms instructor.

[Correction January 27, 1:52pm - A previous version of this article mistakenly listed Campbell Co., KY  among the Ohio sanctuary counties.]

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