Supervisors approve Second Amendment Sanctuary status

After lengthy discussion, the Montgomery County Board of Supervisors has proceeded with a resolution declaring Montgomery County as a Second Amendment Sanctuary.
The supervisors approved the resolution by a 3-2 vote.
 The supervisors opened discussion with a public comment period. Numerous county residents spoke before the supervisors, some for, and some against the resolution.
Amanda Hill was one of the supporters of passing the resolution, and said she felt there was a lot of information that was being misconstrued about what becoming a sanctuary county meant.
“Becoming a sanctuary county basically states that Montgomery County is not going to use any local funds to go in and remove weapons. It will be a federal problem, which is where the laws are being made,” said Hill. “President Biden wrote the original AR-15 gun ban, and is now pushing to do this again. In most cases, 99 percent of the time, if someone wants to do an illegal act with a weapon, they will find a way to get that weapon, or use something else. If Montgomery County stands strong and joins other counties going along with this, our county will be a safer county to live in.”
Jerald Palmquist also spoke in favor of passing the measure. Palmquist shared the statistics that guns were used for self-defense an estimated 2.5 million times per year in the United States.
“Not a single shot was fired 91% of the time in those instances. I will echo what Amanda said, and I feel we should do it not just because other counties are doing it, but because it sends a strong statement as far as the overreach that has been going on in our federal government,” commented Palmquist.
James Norris, who stated he is a gun collector, competitive shooter and life-long member of the National Rifle Association, was against the proposal, and made it clear he was not speaking as someone who wanted to take away guns, and he felt the resolution was part of a single-issue proposal that guns were to be taken away
“There are no proposals to take away the second amendment, not even from the most extreme, far-left people. This issue has been slightly left or right my whole lifetime. Maybe they’ll vote in things like, you have to have a background check to purchase a firearm. Am I alarmed about that? I admit, I’m not, because if I sell a gun, that protects me from being sued if they do something wrong with my gun,” stated Norris. “That doesn’t take away my Second Amendment rights, and it’s one issue that I sometimes disagree with the NRA with. But I believe in the second amendment, and would absolutely stand with any of you if anyone was seriously talking about taking away the second amendment or changing it.”
John Baker also issued a comment that was against the passing of the Second Amendment Sanctuary resolution.
“I hope there is some way we can keep the county and the city out of the pure partisan nonsense regarding the Second Amendment. Please focus on local issues that improve the lives of Montgomery County residents, we have enough issues there,” Baker commented.
Supervisor Mike Olson said he’d looked at the issue from many different angles, and he didn’t feel that the county was making an effort to change any laws. They were merely supporting the second amendment.
“This is about standing up for the Constitution of the United States as it was written over 250 years ago. We have an administration that is at this moment attempting to do away with the filibuster law and the 60 percent voting majority so they can pass voting regulations afforded to the state over 200 years ago. The administration is going around the Constitution. They’re also circumventing it with the vaccine mandate. The Second Amendment has been under fire forever. I understand where this is coming from. It’s a statement from the county and our citizens that we don’t want our Constitution circumvented,” Olson said.
Assistant County Attorney Bruce Swanson said after listening to the comments, everyone was spot on as far as opinions went, and there was nothing wrong with the county passing the resolution of support of the Second Amendment, but that it was symbolic from a legal standpoint.
“Congress, state legislators, and federal legislators are the ones passing gun laws. Also, don’t pass an ordinance like the Mills County ordinance that says the sheriff will be instructed not to enforce gun laws. That’s ridiculous. If the county wants to pass this, it’s perfectly fine, and it won’t affect what I do, or what Sheriff Jon Spunaugle does. Everything is perfectly legal except what that Mills County ordinance says,” Swanson explained.
Supervisor Randy Cooper asked if the word sanctuary needed to be used in the resolution.
“We do support the second amendment. Why do we have to put the word sanctuary in there? That’s what discouraged me. If we put the word sanctuary in there, I think we’ll have court cases, and it may open us up to be sued if something happens that involves an illegal weapon. I think we should approve a resolution supporting the second amendment, and we don’t need the word sanctuary in there,” Cooper advised.
Swanson said he didn’t think the county would be exposed to any legal liability in the event of something happening with an illegal weapon, but it wasn’t impossible.
“Anyone that pays a $185 filing fee can file a lawsuit and sue anybody for anything. Whether it’s going to go anywhere is a whole different realm. I think it’s stretching the imagination that the county would be liable if we pass a resolution supporting the Second Amendment. However, I do agree that the word sanctuary puts this on a different level, and makes it seem like the county is in some sort of protective zone. We’re all protected by the same state and federal laws. From a legal standpoint, I find sanctuary a little more misleading, because I don’t believe we could ever become a sanctuary from anything, ” Swanson explained.
Olson said he felt the resolution was symbolic, that the county supported and stood behind the Second Amendment and the Constitution.
Supervisor Donna Robinson said her concern was that the resolutions had sort of snowballed since the first ordinance was passed, and that it felt like they were being made to feel obligated because everyone else was, and they were one of the only counties in Southwest Iowa to do so.
“I don’t know if it’s right for us to be pressured into something of that nature. Also, there’s a lot of intimidation from partisan politics on both sides, and I think that’s highly unnecessary at the county level,” Robinson said. “When this is all said and done, there are going to be two factions of people. One will be happy, and one will be very unhappy. I think it’s unfortunate that it’s come to this  at this level, because, as I see it, a resolution to be a Second Amendment sanctuary does not change any laws. It’s symbolic, and the enforcement of it would be highly questionable.”
Robinson also said that some of the emails that they have received have been questionable in nature as well, to the brink of intimidating.
“I have one in front of me that states, ‘If you ponder this to not become a sanctuary county, it says that you don’t care about the civil rights of the folks within the borders of your county.’ I don’t feel that’s fair, I feel like it’s intimidation, and I should add, we own guns, and firmly believe in gun rights, but I feel this resolution is symbolic at best. I feel to be a free thinker, we have to look at all aspects, and all sides, and sometimes agree to disagree,” Robinson explained.
Supervisor’s Chair Mark Peterson asked if there was any language in the resolution that was arguable from a legal standpoint, and Swanson said there was nothing he took issue with, and restated that the resolution was symbolic.
Robinson and Cooper voted no on the resolution.

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