Another county takes aim at gun legislation in St. Paul

Another rural Minnesota county has taken aim at what many residents view as hostile gun legislation moving through the DFL-controlled state legislature. The Grand Rapids Herald said an overflow crowd of supporters packed the Itasca County Board meeting recently to urge commissioners to pass a measure designating the county as a Second Amendment stalwart.

The resolution to declare Itasca County a Second Amendment (2A) dedicated county was passed unanimously by the Itasca County Board of Commissioners and met by applause from a standing-room only county board room on Tuesday, Feb. 21. In adopting this resolution in support of 2A, the county became the 21st county in the State of Minnesota to explicitly state their position in support of gun rights.

A late addition to Tuesday’s agenda, the add-on request for board action was brought to the table by Commissioner John Johnson (D3). Johnson said some of his constituents approached him regarding the board’s official position on the Second Amendment amid recent proposed gun-control legislation in St. Paul.

The pro-firearms resolution was a legal, if last minute, addition to the board’s agenda. All members of the public who addressed the commissioners spoke out in favor of passage.

The initial speaker expressed his support of 2A but wanted to make clear that intimidation with a weapon in a public forum is not protected speech. This was the closest and only statement in opposition made during the meeting.

All remaining public speakers showed unwavering support for the board to become a 2A dedicated county. Veterans, parents, farmers, and everyday citizens made their point clear: Adopt the resolution. Sentiments expressed by citizens in support may have all been in favor but were expressed for different reasons. Parents of bi-athletes, trap shooters, and hunters had concern for how new gun control measures may affect the sport, student athletes, and economic impact.

Other citizens expressed deep concerns as to why they support the resolution. One person described the county commissioners as the “first line of defense, and they look to the board for protection.”

The swiftness with which the resolution surfaced and cleared the board evidently caught opponents by surprise.

In a statement later in the week, Itasca County DFL Chair Cyndy Martin said she was surprised and disappointed that the county board took action on the resolution when it was added at the last minute in such a way that it seemed only supporters were notified prior to the meeting.

Official Second Amendment designation for Itasca County may be largely symbolic. But there’s no doubt where elected officials stand, including Itasca County Sheriff Joe Dasovich.

In a follow-up call with Dasovich, his position on adopting the resolution was: “What is legal today, should be legal tomorrow.” He also expressed how important it is to “enforce our current laws,” as he is focused on doing in his new role as Sheriff.