County board passes 2nd Amendment support resolution

Constituents voice concerns about constitutionality of proposed firearm legislation in Michigan
After a lot of input from constituents and lengthy discussion, the Crawford County Board of Commissioners passed a “Resolution Supporting The 2nd Amendment Of The United States Constitution” during a regular meeting on Thursday, March 9.
During other recent meetings of the board, the commissioners have received requests to consider adopting a resolution similar to other Michigan counties stating that Crawford County will be a “sanctuary” from “unconstitutional” laws as gun control bills are proceeding through the Michigan legislature. Sanctuary resolution supporters say that the bills violate the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution: “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.”
On February 9, during a regular meeting of the board of commissioners, Commissioner Dorothy A. Frederick (District #2) moved to approve a “Constitutional Sanctuary Resolution” for Crawford County. The motion received a second for purposes of “discussion,” but the support was later withdrawn, and the motion died.
County officials – during the February 9 meeting – said the “Constitutional Sanctuary Resolution” could not be passed as presented because some of the verbiage was not consistent with board authority. Some board members questioned whether the sanctuary resolution was needed because the commissioners passed a “Resolution Declaring Crawford County’s Support Of The Constitution Of The United States” in February of 2020.
“Constitution of the United States of America along with the Bill of Rights is the foundation that this nation was constructed upon; and the United States Supreme Court’s sole purpose is to defend the Constitution of the United States and its twenty-seven accompanying amendments; and the United States Constitution is the benchmark of how a free society governs itself; and the Constitution for the State of Michigan also supports the rights of the citizens and ensures the freedoms to which this nation was founded. Therefore, be it resolved, that the Crawford County Board of Commissioners supports and defends the Constitution of the United States along with the Constitution for the State of Michigan in their entirety. Be it further resolved, that this Board affirms its support for the Crawford County Sheriff and the Crawford County Prosecuting Attorney in the exercise of their sound discretion to enforce the United States Constitution and the Constitution for the State of Michigan,” according to the 2020 resolution.
On February 23, during a regular meeting of the Crawford County Board of Commissioners, Commissioner Frederick moved to add “sanctuary resolution” to the agenda under “unfinished business,” but the motion failed due to lack of support.
The agenda for the March 9 meeting included sanctuary resolution items under “unfinished business,” and the “correspondence” section showed several letters regarding sanctuary resolutions and 2nd Amendment resolutions (some in favor, some opposed).
People filled the room for the March 9 meeting, and several citizens spoke about the sanctuary resolution issue during the first public comment period.
A City of Grayling resident asked the board to support the 2nd Amendment through a resolution. He said a criminal “doesn’t care about gun laws” and the purpose of such laws is to “disarm” and “criminalize” gun owners.
“Our government and our president are seeking to disarm the population,” he said.
One resident said he is a “lifelong gun owner” but he is against the county passing a sanctuary resolution because the “proper place” to determine constitutionality is the court system, “not the county board.” He said the sheriff and prosecuting attorney have already sworn oaths to protect the Constitution.
A Grayling Township resident said dictators and tyrannical governments seek to “rewrite history,” “disarm citizens,” and disrupt the supply chain.
“It’s all about control,” he said. “We have the right to keep and bear arms. It is unconstitutional for the government to take our guns away.”
A Grayling resident cited the 2nd Amendment of the US Constitution and the Constitution of Michigan.
(According to the Michigan Legislature website, Article 1, Section 6 of the Constitution of Michigan says: “Every person has a right to keep and bear arms for the defense of himself and the state.”)
A Crawford County resident said it’s important for people to be able to defend themselves and “prepare for worst case scenarios.” He said the “moral compass” of commissioners “can not be seen” and “can change,” so the board should put something “on paper” to show support of constitutional rights.
“The Constitution is what made America great,” he said.
A Frederic resident said the government is going “overboard” with “red flag laws.”
“If these red flag laws pass you’re going to make criminals out of law abiding citizens,” he said.
One Crawford County resident said she lived 30 miles from a Nazi concentration camp in Poland, and disarming of the populace left people without means of defense during the Holocaust. 
“Help us keep the 2nd Amendment,” she said.
An Otsego County Republican said “a resolution is not a law” and she could understand the board’s “hesitancy,” but urged the board to consider a resolution.
“Criminals will never obey laws,” she said.
A Beaver Creek Township resident said that with “red flag laws you’re guilty until proven innocent,” which affects “the poor” more because they may not have the money for legal representation. He said he doesn’t want to see “hometown guys” (local law enforcement officers) have to try to enforce unconstitutional gun laws. 
A Crawford County resident and veteran of the US military said some of the laws going through the Michigan legislature would make it a felony to own certain firearms, and the problem with “red flag laws” is that “all it takes is a felony.”
“It’s real easy to get a felony on someone,” he said. 
A Crawford County resident said she supports the 2nd Amendment but she’s against the county passing a sanctuary resolution because it “undermines rule of law” and would say that people don’t have to follow certain laws.
A Crawford County resident said without the 2nd Amendment the country “will have anarchy.”
A Crawford County resident said police officers can not be everywhere and can only respond so quickly, so home defense against criminals is vital. He said governments are trying to make citizens into felons and “America is getting really upset.”
“I hope you guys back us,” he said.
“I can protect my family faster than (the sheriff) can get to my house,” a Grayling resident said.
A Frederic resident said the board was hesitant at first to adopt a resolution opposing the proposed Camp Grayling training area expansion, but after hearing from enough constituents the commissioners opted to do so. He said the board should follow a similar path with the sanctuary resolution.
“You are hearing from your constituents. They are asking you peacefully to make Crawford County a sanctuary county. Listen to your constituents,” he said.
A Beaver Creek official told the commissioners that the 2020 resolution “means nothing more than your oath of office.” He said the board should consider a stronger resolution to “show that Crawford County does not support what is happening in Lansing.”
“If there’s an unconstitutional law put in place we do not have to follow that,” he said.
A different Beaver Creek Township resident said he’s served in the military, in the police, and as an EMT because “I wanted to serve my neighbors and my friends.”
“Now my government is trying to make me a criminal,” he said. “There are people that aren’t sane that we need to protect ourselves against.”
A Grayling resident said more than 50 counties in the state have already passed sanctuary resolutions.
“This is not new. This is not illegal,” she said. “The 2nd Amendment is specifically under attack and vulnerable right now.”
A local resident said he is a gun owner and he agreed with a lot of the input from the people who had spoken so far, but the decision for the board “is not about guns, it’s about legal procedure.”
He cited part of the resolution proposed during the February 9 meeting. The draft said “this Board will not authorize the expenditure of one cent of taxpayer funds, nor will our Sheriff direct the use of any law enforcement officer under his command to enforce any unconstitutional law.” He asked who would be deeming the laws as “unconstitutional.”
“The answer is not in this resolution,” he said.
He said it is the duty of the US Supreme Court to determine the constitutionality of laws.
“This resolution asks you to be above the Supreme Court,” he said.
Crawford County Sheriff Ryan Swope said he has taken an oath to enforce the Constitution of Michigan and the US Constitution.
“I understand your concern,” Sheriff Swope said. “I have taken an oath to defend every amendment. You do not need to worry about the Crawford County Sheriff’s Department taking your guns away.”
Commissioner Carey Jansen (District #5) – after a vote of the board to allow it – read four of the letters listed under meeting “correspondence.”
One letter said, in part: “I do not support this proposal nor do I support it becoming an official agenda item for commissioners to consider. I provide this comment and my opposition to the potential resolution as a person who has guns in the home and supports responsible gun ownership. With gun rights protected in both the federal and state of Michigan constitutions I do not see this movement in our county as necessary to protect gun ownership – I see it as a movement motivated by fear and outsider interest, rather than our local vision and values. The United States is the only country in the world that has the level of gun violence and mass shootings we experience. Reasonable and responsible change needs to happen to reduce the frequency and impact that those who make poor and irresponsible choices with guns. Becoming a 2nd Amendment sanctuary county is unnecessary and takes time away from our county leadership focusing on more important issues for our communities.”
A different letter said “this is very much a federal issue, not ours,” and concerns should be directed to legislators.
Another letter said the board should not succumb to “bullying tactics” and the county “would look foolish” passing a sanctuary resolution.
After public comment ended, the board addressed the sanctuary resolution issue under “unfinished business.”
“We are the voice of our constituents,” Commissioner Frederick said. “Let the lawmakers in Lansing know where we stand.”
Commissioner Frederick said items “that were objected to” from the previously proposed version of the resolution have been removed, and more than 50 counties have already passed similar resolutions.
Commissioner Phil Lewis (District #7) said he is “all for the 2nd Amendment” but the proposed resolution still contained language about enforcement of “unconstitutional laws” and it’s not the board’s duty to enact laws or determine what is constitutional. Commissioner Lewis said he wanted the resolution, if passed, to be “meaningful” and not exceed the board’s “authority.”
“I want to say something we can actually do,” Commissioner Lewis said.
“I think this needs some broad discussion. I’m sad that there seems to be a lot of division,” Commissioner Jansen said. “How can we help alleviate those fears and concerns that our constituents have?”
Laurie Jamison, Crawford County Board of Commissioners Chairwoman (District #1), agreed with Commissioner Lewis about the section dealing with “unconstitutional laws.” Commissioner Jamison said the section should say “unconstitutional as determined by the Supreme Court.”
Commissioner Jamison also asked for a title change, saying the resolution should say the board supports 2nd Amendment rights without calling the county a “sanctuary.”
“I think the word ‘sanctuary’ is a very contentious word,” Commissioner Jamison said.
Commissioners mentioned the 2020 resolution. Commissioner Jamison said the intent of the 2020 resolution was the “same” as the 2023 discussion, to support constitutional rights, specifically the 2nd Amendment.
Commissioner Frederick said “time is of the essence” and “we don’t have time to mess around” because of legislation being considered and passed.
“What this does is it creates pressure on our lawmakers. We are making a stand. They want us to let Lansing know where we stand. In 2020 you guys passed a great resolution but now we need stronger wording. We need to discuss legislation that’s going through right now,” Commissioner Frederick said.
Commissioner Jansen asked about the possibility of more discussion and asked if a task force should be created.
“We don’t have time for a task force,” Commissioner Frederick said.
Commissioner Frederick said the board was being “reactionary” and not “proactive” and that some counties passed resolutions two years ago.
“We can have a real impact on Lansing if we stand together, especially if we stand with other counties,” Commissioner Frederick said.
Commissioner Jamie McClain (District #4) and Commissioner Jamison asked how to find a “happy medium” and come up with a suitable resolution to support 2nd Amendment rights.
After discussion, Commissioner Jansen asked if the county administrator could provide a “clean copy” of the proposed resolution with the suggested revisions so the board could review it. 
The board recessed the meeting for 15 minutes, and the county administrator returned with copies of the revised resolution.
Commissioner Frederick objected to the removal of a section that said “the primary and most important duty of any elected official is to protect the citizens in their constituency not only from physical harm but also from infringement of their sovereign rights.”
Other commissioners said the most important duty of elected officials is to uphold the Constitution.
“We don’t protect them from physical harm; our law enforcement does,” Commissioner Jamison said.
The board voted 6-0 to approve the revised resolution (one member absent).
Commissioner Jansen read the resolution aloud to the meeting attendees.
The March 9 “Resolution Supporting The 2nd Amendment Of The United States Constitution” lists the wording of the 2nd Amendment of the US Constitution and Article 1, Section 6 of the Michigan Constitution, and the resolution says “the primary and most important duty of any elected official is to uphold the United States Constitution and the Michigan Constitution including all amendments.”
“In its recent ruling in New York State Rifle and Pistol Association vs. Bruen, the United States Supreme Court ruled that our citizens not only have the right to keep and bear arms in their homes for self-defense but also in public places. The citizens of Michigan have not granted the State to determine what type of arms we may keep and bear, nor has the Supreme Court of the United States ever ruled that there is such a restriction in our Constitution. Any legislation passed by the Michigan Legislature and signed into law by the Governor of Michigan, or by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by the President, that violates the Constitutional Rights of the citizens of Michigan and the United States, is by definition unconstitutional as declared by the Supreme Court,” according to the “Resolution Supporting The 2nd Amendment Of The United States Constitution.”
“This board will not support the enforcement of any law passed by the Michigan Legislature and signed into law by the Governor or passed by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by the President that is ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court,” according to the March 9 resolution.
The second (and final) public comment period of the March 9 meeting featured more input on the resolution and reaction to the vote.
One resident voiced concerned about possible laws that deal with concealed weapons at places that sell alcohol and state-owned sites such as rest areas.
“They’ve made it practically impossible to have a concealed carry permit,” he said.
One citizen said he was “disgusted” by the final resolution, saying it was not strong enough and it was as if the board “shut the door and forgot to lock it.”
Another resident said the board went through a lot of “backbending” and “gymnastics” and asked if the commissioners “support the 2nd Amendment or not.”
“We’ve got something, and we’re going to see. I hope that we are not facing a mass disarmament of American society, and I think it’s setting the stage for a civil war. Think about your role in that,” she said.
Others thanked the board for approving the resolution.
“Thank you for working together on this,” a Beaver Creek official said.
“I want to thank you for listening to your constituents,” a Frederic resident said.
Others offered thanks while also stating that they wished the resolution had offered more.
“I think the language maybe could be stronger,” one citizen said.
“Thank you for doing this. I wish the wording could be a little stronger. They’ve already infringed on our 2nd Amendment rights. We’re losing our freedoms. We need to get back to being Americans. It’s not left or right. This society is going downhill. It’s time we all started taking a stand,” said another.
According to the Michigan Legislature website, the state house of representatives passed House Bill 4138, House Bill 4142, and House Bill 4143 on March 8.
House Bill 4138 is “an act to regulate and license the selling, purchasing, possessing, and carrying of certain firearms, gas ejecting devices, and electro-muscular disruption devices; to prohibit the buying, selling, or carrying of certain firearms, gas ejecting devices, and electro-muscular disruption devices without a license or other authorization; to provide for the forfeiture of firearms and electro-muscular disruption devices under certain circumstances; to provide for penalties and remedies; to provide immunity from civil liability under certain circumstances; to prescribe the powers and duties of certain state and local agencies; to prohibit certain conduct against individuals who apply for or receive a license to carry a concealed pistol; to make appropriations; to prescribe certain conditions for the appropriations; and to repeal all acts and parts of acts inconsistent with this act,” according to the Michigan Legislature website.
House Bill 4142 deals with firearm sales and looks to amend the “the Michigan penal code.”
Excerpts from House Bill 4142: “(1) A person who knowingly sells a firearm without complying with section 2 of 1927 PA 372, MCL 28.422, is guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment for not more than 90 days, or a fine of not more than $100.00, or both. (2) A person who knowingly sells a firearm more than 26 inches in length to a person under 18 years of age is guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment for not more than 90 days, or a fine of not more than $500.00, or both. A second or subsequent violation of this subsection is a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 4 years, or a fine of not more than $2,000.00, or both. (3) A seller shall not sell a firearm or ammunition to a person if the seller knows that either of the following circumstances exists: (a) The person is under indictment for a felony.  (b) The person is prohibited under section 224f from possessing, using, transporting, selling, purchasing, carrying, shipping, receiving, or distributing a firearm. (4) A person who violates subsection (3) is guilty of a felony, punishable by imprisonment for not more than 10 years, or by a fine of not more than $5,000.00, or both. A person who intentionally makes a material false statement on an application for a license to purchase a firearm under section 2 of 1927 PA 372, MCL 28.422, is guilty of a felony. A person who uses or attempts to use false identification or the identification of another person to purchase a firearm is guilty of a misdemeanor.”
House Bill 4143 looks to amend “the code of criminal procedure” for state law “by amending sections 11b and 16m of chapter XVII (MCL 777.11b and 777.16m), section 11b as amended by 2016 PA 234 and section 16m as amended by 2018 PA 637” and offers a long list of “felonies,” including several that deal with firearm regulations.
The bills now move to the Michigan Senate.

Crawford County Avalanche

Mailing Address
Box 490
Grayling, MI 49738

Phone: 989-348-6811
FAX: 989-348-6806

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