The 2nd Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which was ratified on Dec. 15, 1791, reads: “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.”
Members of the newly-formed Sibley County 2A Coalition, whose supporters number in the hundreds, attended the Sibley County Board of Commissioners workshop meeting on Tuesday, March 10, to request the board approve a resolution declaring Sibley County a “Pro-Second Amendment Protection County.”
The coalition presented county board members with a draft resolution to consider. Although some county board members raised concerns with certain wording in a couple of instances, the resolution as presented states that if passed, the board would do the following:
• Express its intent to uphold the Second Amendment rights of the citizens of Sibley County
• Not use county funds to restrict Second Amendment rights of Sibley County citizens, and not aid federal or state agencies in the restriction of said rights
• Oppose any infringement on the right of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms using such legal means as may be expedient, including, without limitation, court action.
McLeod, Clearwater, Marshall, Red Lake, Roseau, Kanabec, Wadena, and Wright counties have all passed similar resolutions.
McLeod was actually the leader in Minnesota, having passed its 2nd Amendment resolution in 2013.
Unlike the one presented by the Sibley County 2A Coalition, the McLeod County resolution has more than a little bit of bite to it.
One part of it reads: “The McLeod County Board of Commissioners resolves that all federal acts, laws, orders, rules, regulations — past, present or future — in violation of the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution of the United States are not authorized by the Constitution of the United States and violate its true meaning and intent as given by the Founders and Ratifiers; and are hereby declared to be invalid in this county, shall not be recognized by this county, are specifically rejected by this county, and shall be considered null and void and of no effect in this county.”
The request by the Sibley County 2A Coalition came less than two weeks after the Minnesota House passed two bills restricting firearms ownership.
The two bills would require background checks for private party firearms transfers (HF8) and set up procedures for police or family members to remove guns from people who are deemed dangerous (HF9). The latter is what is typically referred to as a “red flag” law.
In the bill approved by the Minnesota House, a family or household member, chief law enforcement officer or designee, city or county attorney or guardian can file a petition for relief alleging a person poses an immediate and present danger of bodily injury and request removal of any weapons in the house.
However, after a petition is filed, a court hearing will need to be held, where the petitioner must prove that the individual in question poses a “significant danger of bodily injury to self or other persons by possessing a firearm.”
The bills passed on a primary partisan line, with just five Democrats joining Republicans to vote against bill HF8, which passed 69-62. Bill HF9 passed by a similar margin, 68-62.
They are now before the Senate.
Sibley County 2A Coalition
Since it was formed on Feb. 28, the Sibley County 2A Coalition Facebook page has gathered 638 members, and according to Annie Ballalataka (prounounced “Balatik”), who is chairing the group’s efforts, they have 298 signatures on a petition they are circulating.
“Our basic concern is to make the county aware we want backing to save our Second Amendment rights,” coalition supporter Kenny Mueller told the county board members.
Coalition members are also concerned that the “red flag” bill currently before the Senate could be used against someone who is falsely accused of being a threat.
As one of more than two dozen supporters who attended the meeting put it: “We are sick and tired of people trying to vilify law-abiding citizens.”
Coalition supporter Daryl Thurn said the bills attack a citizen’s 2nd Amendment and due process rights, and the county has a big question before them: Will Sibley County uphold Constitutional rights, or follow the state?
“It is a really big one and we need to take it under consideration,” Thurn said.
Sibley County Board District 1 Commissioner Bobbie Harder said that she watched the entire HR8 and HR9 debate as it happened, and one thing she noticed is “the people who put the two bills together couldn’t really defend it.”
Harder further said that bills like these don’t really affect criminals, but rather it is “the law-abiding citizens who bear the brunt of it.”
Following the workshop discussion, Sibley County Board members showed support for adding the resolution to its Tuesday, March 24 agenda.