Second Amendment Sanctuaries and the Constitutional Rule of Law

Michelle Lujan Grisham at a rally. (AFGE)

New Mexico/Colorado – -( Recently some very pro-Second Amendment localities have begun to take a page from opponents of the enforcement of immigration laws. That page is to declare their counties to be “Second Amendment sanctuary” jurisdictions. It is very ironic that the very anti-Second Amendment politicians, many of whom also support the “sanctuary city” concept, are now quite irritated about this new development.

Look, Second Amendment supporters want to preserve the rule of law. It’s one reason why many are frustrated when the laws on the books governing the misuse of firearms in crimes are not used. A few years back, Chris Brown, who had been convicted of a felony for seriously injuring his then-girlfriend Rhianna in a beating, was caught with guns and drugs. It would have been easy to lock away Mr. Brown for up to four decades. But those provisions were not used.

And yet despite the non-enforcement of laws, when bad stuff happens, these anti-Second Amendment politicians come out and demand that the law-abiding citizens surrender more of their Second Amendment rights. This leads to a lot of frustration on the part of Second Amendment supporters.

What is happening, though, in many of the very red areas of states that find themselves dominated by major cities, is the declaration of Second Amendment sanctuaries. New Mexico is just such a state – with many counties that have pro-Second Amendment officials making those sanctuary declarations.

In addition, sheriffs in that state are declaring they will not enforce laws that violate the Second Amendment. This has included, in New Mexico, the sheriff of the most populous county (and 28 of his colleagues). Colorado is also seeing a number of “Second Amendment sanctuaries” emerge, with nine such counties making that declaration as of this writing.

One thing we should note is that these are a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it is good to see officials following their oaths to defend the Constitution. Ultimately, that is where their primary loyalty must lie – not to any party, or to what is passed by the legislature. As John Marshall said in his Marbury v. Madison opinion, “the Constitution is superior to any ordinary act of the legislature.”

There is a problem, though, but it is not with the intentions of those setting up the sanctuaries. The problem is how this is coming across. Already, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham is calling the move a “childish pity party” by “rogue sheriffs” (never mind that all but four in the state are opposing her agenda) as she vows to pursue further gun control measures. Now, you and I both know that the objections are anything but “propaganda” and “bad faith,” but she has a lot of the media on her side.

In one sense, the big problem for Second Amendment supporters is to decide when to take the step of defying legislative laws that are in clear contradiction to the Second Amendment is warranted. In many states that have passed arbitrary bans on semi-automatic firearms, but allowed registration, Second Amendment supporters have refused to register those guns, a calculated act of civil disobedience to legislative law. But that is not enough.

This is where good strategy and tactics, mindfulness of how we come across to our fellow Americans, and having good contacts with local media will matter. For instance, do you think Governor Grisham will be so eager to prosecute a person who loans a woman fleeing an abusive partner a handgun for personal protection?

Defying anti-Second Amendment laws is one of the more desperate options out there. It is easy to make the case to Second Amendment supporters about doing so with regards to “universal” background checks as they are a form of backdoor registration, but we must recognize that there is a much larger audience out there we must reach. We must convince our fellow citizens who are either not strongly on either side, or even leaning towards some measures to support, if not outright elimination of those unjust laws, then at least to start making them less onerous.

Harold Hu, chison

About Harold Hutchison

Writer Harold Hutchison has more than a dozen years of experience covering military affairs, international events, U.S. politics and Second Amendment issues. Harold was consulting senior editor at Soldier of Fortune magazine and is the author of the novel Strike Group Reagan. He has also written for the Daily Caller, National Review, Patriot Post,, and other national websites.