Commission not pursuing firearm sanctuary status

Skip Brandt

GRANGEVILLE — Although a handful of Idaho cities has adopted Second Amendment Sanctuary resolutions — and the city of Kamiah is now considering it — the Idaho County Commission on Tuesday turned down a suggestion that the county follow suit.

Commission Chairman Skip Brandt said during the commission’s regular weekly meeting that he had considered bringing up the issue a few years ago, but he changed his mind after the Idaho Legislature passed a law in 2014 — Senate Bill 1332 — making Idaho a Second Amendment Sanctuary entity.

“Idaho as a whole has already taken care of that,” Brandt said. “So I don’t know why we would want to double the effort.”

Idaho County Sheriff Doug Ulmer said he has fielded inquiries from people who would like to see the county become a Second Amendment Sanctuary.

“If we did it, I don’t know what it would harm,” Ulmer said, adding that he would defer to the commissioners’ decision.

A growing number of states, counties, cities and towns, including Kuna, Eagle, Star and Gooding in Idaho, are declaring themselves Second Amendment Sanctuaries, stating they would refuse to enforce gun-control laws that infringe on the constitutional right to keep and bear arms.

The Idaho Second Amendment Alliance is an organization of such entities that advertises itself as a “no compromise gun rights organization. We do not believe in trading one right in exchange for others to achieve partial liberty. We fight very hard for 100 percent firearms freedom for individuals in the great state of Idaho.”

At a meeting of the Kamiah City Council in January, Councilor Stephen Rowe proposed adopting a Second Amendment Sanctuary resolution for the city.

Rowe said he is concerned that the Biden administration will restrict guns and he wants to protect people’s gun rights in Kamiah. Rowe cited potential limits on magazine size and putting red flag laws in place that, he said, would allow “taking guns away from people who have not committed a crime.”

Mayor Betty Heater said Tuesday no decision on the proposal has been made but she expects it to be a topic of discussion at tonight’s city council meeting beginning at 6 p.m. The meeting will be livestreamed over the city of Kamiah Facebook page.

“We’re still in the discussion stage,” Heater said. “I think some people are getting the idea that” the proposal has to do with limiting immigrants into the city.

“That’s not what this is about,” she said. “This is about protecting our rights as gun owners and saying that we’re not going to give up our rights and we’re not going against the Constitution.”

Heater said that the city’s attorney has reviewed the proposed resolution and found no problems with it. But other council members wanted more information before making a decision.

“I don’t think it’s something that we could take lightly,” Heater said. “I think a person probably should get some input from the public and that’s why I put it on the agenda as a discussion item. I think I am going to suggest to the council that maybe we get input from the citizens because we work for the citizens.”

Hedberg may be contacted at kathyhedberg@gmail.com or (208) 983-2326.