Monday at the Union County Board of Supervisors meeting, Iowa Firearms Coalition volunteer Dillon Daughenbaugh lobbied the board to pass a resolution to make Union County a “Second Amendment Sanctuary.”
The resolution would emphasize the county’s opposition to any laws that infringe upon the Second Amendment rights of law abiding citizens.
“The way this is written is it’s any future unconstitutional law,” Daughenbaugh said afterward. “So it’s not going to affect anything currently on the books for the state of Iowa or for particular counties in the state of Iowa.”
Daughenbaugh, who is also a volunteer firefighter in Creston, said he got involved because he is passionate about protecting the Second Amendment.
“It’s very important to be involved in politics in general, not just social media, just yelling,” he said. “So regardless of what kind of passion you have I think you should definitely be involved with it, because this kind of stuff affects us all.”
Jasper and Hardin county officials have already passed such resolutions. Madison County Attorney Matt Schultz and Sheriff Jason Barnes are pushing their county’s board to pass the measure as well.
The Hardin County resolution stated in part, “The County Board of Supervisors hereby declares Hardin County to be a Second Amendment Sanctuary County, and hereby states its opposition to the enactment of any legislation that would infringe upon the constitutional right of the people of Hardin County to keep and bear arms.”
Hardin County Sheriff Dave McDaniel said his county’s sanctuary status doesn’t change day to day operations.
“It doesn’t change the way we’ll do our job in any way, shape or form. All gun laws will still be enforced,” McDaniel said, noting political divisions surrounding the issue. “Unfortunately there’s a lot of political division in this country right now. So I’m sure there are some that are very appreciative of it and others that are not. And that’s just kind of our political climate right now.”
Lynn Mills, Chief of Staff for the Attorney General of Iowa, said the sanctuary measures are mostly symbolic.
“Our office hasn’t had an opportunity to take an in-depth look at the Second Amendment sanctuary resolutions. We view these resolutions as largely symbolic,” Mills said in an email to the Creston News.
But IFC Chairman Michael Ware said symbolism is important and shouldn’t be dismissed.
“When you say it’s symbolic it makes it sound as if it doesn’t have any value, and I don’t believe that’s a true statement,” Ware said. “I think it makes a big difference that you stand up for what you believe in and say so.”
He conceded the resolutions are not legally binding but insisted they still carry weight.
“When it comes to the point of a resolution, you and I both know that it’s not legally binding in that a sheriff can say ‘I’m going to do this’ or a lawmaker can say ‘I’m not going to do that,’” he said. “So that’s not what this is about. What this is about is basically a declaration. The county is saying, we believe in civil rights. They’re saying, we believe in this civil right so much that we want to make sure that you know that. So we’re going on record saying what we’re about. We’re saying we understand that Jim Crow and the racist origins of gun control are something we don’t we don’t want to be a part of.”
Ware said gun control disproportionately harms Americans of lower socio-economic status. He also said many people get the misconception these resolutions are mandates or permission structures for sheriffs to circumvent or nullify laws.
“I don’t think you’ll find very many lawmen that say, ‘I am standing here today in front of you advocating lawlessness.’ That’s not what they’re doing,” he said. “They’re saying that when it gets out of hand and when it’s inappropriate, they’re going to question it. And I think that they should be saying that because sometimes, no matter whether they have the best of intentions, the people that oppose me or not they go overboard and it’s wrong. And I’m glad that somebody is willing to say that.”
Ware said the City of San Jose, California provides an example of an overreaching law he hopes counties would refuse to enforce in reverence to the Second Amendment.
The law was passed last month in response to a shooting in which a San Jose rail yard worker killed himself and nine coworkers. The San Jose City Council unanimously passed the ordinance requiring gun owners to carry liability insurance policies and pay an annual fee to mitigate costs related to gun violence.
“That’s a really bad idea. Hopefully someone will eventually sue the city of San Jose and have that righted. But I really have a hard time embracing the idea that government weaponizes itself against you. And your only recourse is to hawk everything you own to hire a beatnik attorney and roll the dice in front of the robed masters [judges],” Ware said. “I would really rather have the sheriff stand up and say, ‘No, I’m not sending my guys out to to do this because it’s wrong.’”