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There was a standing room only crowd of supporters packed into the Roseau County Courthouse last week when the county board voted unanimously to become the first county or city in Minnesota to be designated a Second Amendment Sanctuary.
The designation takes aim at proposed legislation in the works in St. Paul that many Roseau area residents and elected officials view as a potential threat to their constitutional right to bear arms, according to the Forum News Service.
The motion goes on to resolve that “public funds of the county not be used to restrict the Second Amendment rights of the citizens of Roseau County, or to aid federal or state agencies in the restriction of said rights.”
Roseau County Sheriff Steve Gust said the resolution won’t change local law enforcement’s operations, since one of the resolution’s main intents is to oppose “red flag” gun laws, which allow courts to temporarily remove guns from people who are found to be a risk to themselves or others. Red flag laws have been proposed in Minnesota but not passed.
The Roseau County Commissioners approved the designation without the support of County Attorney Kristy Kjos. She wanted to hold off taking a stand until the Minnesota County Attorneys Association discusses the legal issues raised by sanctuaries later this week.
But some commissioners insisted on moving forward in order to impress on urban residents how seriously Minnesotans in rural areas view the importance of Second Amendment issues.
“(Kjos) thought we should get advice from them first, and myself and John Horner made a very strong stand against that and said, basically, ‘we’re leaders, not followers, and we’re not going to let the metro decide what we’re going to do in Roseau County,” [Commissioner Russell] Walker said. “We were elected to represent Roseau County, not (Hennepin County Attorney Michael) Freeman or any of these other guys who are Hennepin County attorneys or Ramsey County attorneys. As far as I’m concerned, they’re with the opposition and I will not listen or have anything to do with them, period.”
Roseau County may be the first Minnesota jurisdiction to become a Second Amendment Sanctuary but several more counties will reportedly be considering similar resolutions in coming weeks.
[Rep. Jeremy Munson, R-Crystal Lake] said he has heard from residents in about a dozen counties besides Roseau who have expressed interest in adopting sanctuary designations. Clearwater County is expected to vote on a similar sanctuary county resolution on Friday.