By Conrad Dudderar
Senior Staff Writer
Canadian County has been officially declared a “Second Amendment Constitutional Rights-protected Sanctuary County” to demonstrate support of preserving and protecting citizen rights to keep and bear arms.
Marc Hader, chairman of the three-member Canadian County Commission, read aloud the resolution at Monday morning’s weekly commissioners’ meeting. Commissioners adopted the resolution unanimously although two members questioned the need to formally support such a declaration.
“We want to protect citizens’ rights on things like the Second Amendment,” Hader said. “Because of some activities in other parts of the country, I think folks here want to be proactive.”
Logan County’s sheriff was the first in Oklahoma to step up and make a declaration of this type and others have been following suit. Logan County Commissioners passed a resolution in support.
“In Oklahoma, we have been making significant strides to restore our citizens rights to keep and bear arms,” Chairman Hader said. “But, folks across Oklahoma and America are hearing of red flag policies being strongly promoted across the country, and Presidential candidates are espousing firearm policies that would make some socialist and communist dictators proud.
“Over the weekend, the latest count was 21 county sheriffs had made declarations of commitment to be known as ‘Second Amendment Sanctuary counties’.”
Canadian County Sheriff Chris West recommended that Canadian County Commissioners support a resolution declaring Canadian County a Second Amendment Sanctuary County.
A growing number of sheriffs in Oklahoma are pushing for their counties to officially be declared “sanctuary counties” to stand up against any effort to infringe on citizens’ Second Amendment rights. This follows a trend in recent years that has seen some municipalities in other parts of the country become “sanctuary cities” to house illegal immigrants.
The Canadian County resolution states, in part, that the Second Amendment of the Constitution guarantees individuals have the right to keep and bear arms in a manner that shall not be infringed.
Also, that the right to keep and bear arms is necessary for self-defense, the defense of others including family members, the protection of individual liberty and for the preservation of the U.S. Constitution.
Canadian County Commissioners desire “to express their commitment to protecting the Canadian County citizens’ Second Amendment rights,” according to the resolution.
Through the document, commissioners “wish to express opposition to any law, regulation or other act that would infringe on the rights reserved by the Second Amendment rights of Canadian County citizens.”
And, “Canadian County will utilize all legal means necessary to protect the Second Amendment rights of Canadian County citizens, including, but not limited to, legal action.”
WHY IS THIS NEEDED?
District 3 County Commissioner Jack Stewart and District 2 Commissioner David Anderson, while noting their support of the Second Amendment and people’s constitutional rights, did question why commissioners needed for formally enact such a resolution.
“I’m trying to figure out why we really need it,” Stewart said. “It’s basically just saying, ‘follow the law and the Constitution’. It’s just declaring that (the sheriff)’s going to do what the law, the statutes and the Constitution tell him he’s going to do.
“I’m not against it at all. I’m just trying to figure out how it is more positive than what we’ve already got.”
Each Canadian County officer swore an oath after being elected to uphold the law and defend the U.S. and Oklahoma constitutions, Commissioner Anderson noted.
Canadian County officials shouldn’t have to “spend a lot of energy saying that we will do what we swore to do.”
“It feels more like something done to gain attention rather than to actually initiate change,” the District 2 county commissioner said. “When we sign resolutions, it has always been to change the conditions of the existing situation. These kinds of resolutions that say we’re going to enforce the laws of Canadian County; well, you better. You swore to the public you would.
“I’m a Second Amendment guy. I feel like it’s the law of the land. It is a constitutional right. I think with rights come responsibilities. That’s where our communities and country are struggling (to decide) where those responsibilities infringe upon the rights to carry and bear arms. I wish we’d focus more on the things I feel we’re elected to do.”
After Monday’s meeting, Chairman Hader talked about the need to have such a resolution.
“It is important to reassure our citizens that those of us who swore oaths to support both the U.S. Constitution and the Constitution of the great State of Oklahoma are committed to protecting our foundational rights outlined in the Declaration of Independence,” the District 1 commissioner said.
“I encourage all 77 counties in Oklahoma to join in such efforts to give our citizens comfort that their rights will not be infringed.”