Commentary: The Second Is Local!

The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution says: A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.  Under attack from liberals in recent years, who believe gun control will reduce mass shootings, the second amendment has become a topic of debate.  Virtually all the Democrat presidential candidates favor gun buyback programs, a ban on assault weapons, and universal background checks to purchase a gun.  But those who would confiscate weapons from law abiding Americans may find it hard to accomplish if local law enforcement won’t cooperate.

In May 2013, the Carroll County, Maryland Board of Commissioners passed a resolution declaring the county a ‘second amendment sanctuary.’  In part the resolution stated: “The right to keep and bear arms is assumed to be a natural right from God and the Second Amendment is merely a restriction on government, it says to government, ‘stay away.'”  

In the six years since, many counties in states across the U.S. have followed that lead. In the past two weeks, it was Oklahoma’s turn.
First, Logan County Sheriff Damon Devereaux, in a signed resolution, vowed no public funds will be used to enact policies that restrict the Second Amendment rights of Logan County, OK (Guthrie) residents.
The next day, Stephens County, OK (Duncan) Sherriff Wayne McKinney did the same.  Since that time, a dozen additional county sheriffs across the Sooner state have followed their lead and declared their county a second amendment sanctuary.  Critics claim the declarations are purely for optics and are meaningless, but that is not true because the second amendment is a local issue. 

Three observations:

First, passing the resolution sends the message law abiding citizens are count on local law enforcement not being the tools to grab their guns.  Law enforcement who publically takes a stand for the second amendment is standing up for those they are protecting and that is a good thing.

Second, county commissions should pass the resolution.  That adds teeth!  The sheriff is the top law enforcement officer in the county, but they can’t unilaterally declare a county a second amendment sanctuary.  The commission is the ruling body in the county and they should follow their sheriff’s lead.

Third, there us a striking difference between the two major political Parties on the Second Amendment.  
The Democrat platform states: “We believe that the right to own firearms is subject to reasonable regulation.”  The Republican platform states: “We uphold the right of individuals to keep and bear arms, a right which antedated the Constitution and was solemnly confirmed by the Second Amendment.”  Quite a difference. 

At the Stephens County GOP county convention last week, delegates unanimously passed the following resolution: “Recognizing the U.S. Constitution grants citizens the right to keep and bear arms, we the duly elected delegates of the Stephens County support the designating of Stephens County, OK as a Second Amendment sanctuary county.”  
All politics is local and the Second Amendment is no exception.

Steve Fair is Chairman of the Fourth Congressional District for Oklahoma Republican Party. His commentaries often appear on CapitolBeatOK, an independent news website. He can be reached by email at  His blog is