Joe Thoele, an Effingham County, Illinois board member, was tired of his state’s continued assault on the Second Amendment and decided to do something about it. On Monday he persuaded seven of the other eight board members to declare his county a “sanctuary” county, ordering county employees not to enforce any new infringements coming from Springfield, the state’s capitol. Said Thoele, “I would just like to send a statement to Springfield that I don’t want them to be infringing on our Second Amendment rights as legal gun owners.” After all, echoed Effingham state’s attorney Bryan Kibler, “If you can be a sanctuary county for undocumented immigrants, why can’t you be one for firearms?”
The board meeting was attended by a near-record number of Effingham County’s 34,000 residents, according to local news sources. The Fox News affiliate reported that the resolution was motivated by a similar resolution passed by Iroquois County, Illinois, in March, “opposing the passage of … any bill where the 100th Illinois General Assembly desires to restrict the individual right of U.S. citizens as protected by the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution.” That resolution resolved
that the People of Iroquois County, Illinois, do hereby oppose the enactment of any legislation that would infringe upon the Right of the People to keep and bear arms and consider such laws to be unconstitutional and beyond lawful Legislative Authority.
BE IT FURTHER RESOVLED, that the Iroquois County Board demands that the Illinois General Assembly cease further actions restricting the Right of the People to keep and bear arms, and hereby demand that the Governor of Illinois veto all such legislation which restricts the Right of the People to keep and bear arms.
Effingham County’s resolution may also have been prompted as a response to the nearly complete ban by Deerfield, Illinois, on anything that remotely looks like an “assault” weapon, effective in early June.
The resolution is mostly symbolic, as are the other declarations of “sanctuary” cities and states (as California is discovering) passed by liberals in their haste to enact laws to protect the guilty while infringing on the rights of the innocent. But it was enough to inspire an anti-gun writer at the Chicago Tribune, Rex Huppke, to relieve himself of his disgust over such silliness, using ridicule as his weapon of choice in attacking Effingham’s resolution. He wrote:
The idea of a sanctuary city or county for gun owners has bubbled up in other states. It’s a not-so-subtle repurposing of the term “sanctuary city,” which is a city that limits its cooperation with federal immigration enforcement agents, offering some protection to residents who are in the country illegally….
Do you think minor changes to gun laws [are] … a threat to your personal safety? Then pack your bags (of guns) and head on down to Effingham County. It will soon be a veritable haven of heavily armed people who think the government is out to get them.
Huppke should have done a little homework before suggesting such a move. Back in 1982 Morton Grove, Illinois, passed a virtual ban on guns, causing Kennesaw, Georgia, to reciprocate with an ordinance requiring “every head of household residing in the city limits to maintain a firearm, together with ammunition.” Since then Kennesaw has enjoyed a violent crime rate that is 60 percent below the national average and a property crime rate that is about 50 percent before both national and state averages.
In addition Kennesaw has enjoyed a population growth rate that is far higher than both the state and national averages.
Huppke has offered (tongue in cheek) to help gun owners to pack up and move to Effingham County, thus virtually guaranteeing that the county will shortly become the safest in the state, and one of the most prosperous, both of which Illinois desperately needs.
Huppke may also be onto something else: If Effingham County can declare itself a “sanctuary county,” why couldn’t the entire country declare itself a “sanctuary country” where the right to keep and bear arms, protected by the Second Amendment, is not abridged and infringed but instead supported and encouraged?
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