Weld County May Join Others As ‘Second Amendment Sanctuary’

March 5, 2019
Photo: Handguns In Miami Store - AP
Handguns in a Miami store.

Weld County may soon join three other Colorado counties in declaring themselves “Second Amendment sanctuaries.”

The move is meant to send a clear message to Democratic lawmakers: Our county sheriffs will not have to enforce Colorado’s proposed “red flag” bill.

That bill would make it easier for courts to temporarily remove guns from people deemed a danger to themselves or others.

Montezuma, Custer and Fremont have already passed such resolutions in advance of passage of the state’s gun bill that passed the Colorado House on Monday.

"We honestly believe that the bill is unconstitutional, and we have all sworn to uphold the Constitution,” Weld County Commissioner Mike Freeman said. “That’s why we are going to have a conversation about it.”

Weld County’s five-member Board of Commissioners will likely vote Wednesday morning on the proposal.

Freeman said he expects the resolution to get the three 'yes' votes it needs to pass, but, that if it does, nothing would immediately change in Weld County.

“It’s more of a statement that if something comes down that is unconstitutional that we would support our sheriff in not enforcing [it],” Freeman said.

Fremont County was the first Colorado county to declare itself a Second Amendment sanctuary on Feb. 26. Custer and Montezuma followed a couple of days later.

The counties are not the only ones considering such moves. Many localities in New Mexico, Washington, Oregon and Illinois have also passed such resolutions, pitting gun control advocates in statehouses against Second Amendment rights proponents in towns and counties across the country.

And the statements come as House Democrats in Washington pass the first of their own federal gun control bills aimed at lowering gun violence in the U.S.

In Colorado, the state's red flag gun control bill doesn’t do enough to protect the Constitution’s gun and due process rights, some say.

"It's our opinion that it does not offer enough due process to anyone who is targeted with an accusation of being, maybe, mentally incompetent or dangerous," Fremont County Sheriff Allen Cooper said at a county commissioners meeting Feb. 26. "I can not support this bill as it is currently written."

According to a Custer County Sheriff's Office Facebook post, the Custer Board of Commissioners took action at the request of Sheriff Shannon Byerly.

“This resolution reinforces the U.S. Supreme Court’s affirmation of citizens rights under the Second Amendment,” the post read. “We are thankful to our commissioners for taking a strong position for the citizens of Custer County.”

Montezuma County commissioners voted 3-0 last week in favor of their own resolution.

“We are sending a message to Denver to listen to us, and that we have a right to our freedoms,” Commissioner Jim Candelaria said.

The red flag bill will soon be heard in the Senate.