Back in May, we talked about a bit of an uprising in Effingham County, Illinois. County executives had decided that they weren’t willing to simply fall in line with new gun control measures passed by state legislative majorities based almost entirely in Chicago. In response, they passed a largely symbolic measure declaring their county a sanctuary for gun owners, saying that they would not enforce the new mandates.
At that time, Effingham County officials reported that they had received some highly supportive requests from other counties around the state, asking about the language used in their measure and how they planned to implement it. It turns out that the people sending in the requests for information were sincere. At this point, as Bearing Arms reported last week, fully one-quarter of the counties in Illinois are now gun sanctuaries.
Described as largely symbolic, counties and cities across the state have moved since March to declare their local region a “sanctuary” for gun owners, starting with the Iroquois County Board. This came as a grassroots backlash against a package of gun control bills ranging from restricting those under age 21 from purchasing guns to bans on bump stocks and various licensing schemes for gun dealers that have seen success in the state legislature.
In addition, two other counties, Madison and Williamson, reportedly have plans to put the gun sanctuary question to voters in November. With almost a third of the state’s 102 counties doubling down on their support of gun rights, Second Amendment groups are encouraged.
When you add up all the counties and smaller cities and towns, that’s a big chunk of Illinois which is essentially thumbing their nose at Chicago and the Democratic majority there. We’ve seen the same thing happening on the immigration issue in California, where Orange County and some smaller municipalities have been rejecting the premise of the sanctuary state. In each case, as with many other states across the nation, the governing theory is not homogenous across the entire region. Typically all of the liberal activity is centered in one or more large cities while more rural areas reflect a quite different set of values. We have the same situation in New York, where the Big Apple makes all the rules, but the vastly larger upstate region has less population but is considerably more conservative.
Perhaps other states (including New York) need to be emulating this pattern. If the state can defy the federal government in terms of being supportive of federal law, the states and towns and smaller cities can be just as obstinate when it comes to state laws they disagree with.
Of course, this is hardly a desirable situation which should give anyone concerned about the Constitution pause. This isn’t how it’s supposed to be. Supremecy runs downhill and we’re all supposed to be rooting for the same team, particularly when it comes to law enforcement. But the dawn of the era of sanctuary cities and states has rewritten those rules. Perhaps it will take some upstart counties and districts around the nation to engage in such legal battles to snap some of these states back to their senses.