From Robert Whitcomb’s “Digital Diary,’’ in GoLocal24.com
‘In an increasingly divided America there’s been an unfortunate increase in the number of officials in a few localities refusing to enforce federal and state laws that they publicly oppose, in some cases as part of trying to curry favor with certain powerful constituencies. Thus, mayors of “sanctuary cities,’’ such as Providence, with large illegal-immigrant populations have taken it upon themselves not to cooperate, in some cases, with federal immigration officials. The Feds, not the states or cities, have final jurisdiction over immigration matters!
And then we have some officials in such towns as semi-rural Glocester and Burrillville, R.I., seeking to make their communities “Second Amendment Sanctuary Towns’’ in which the local police departments are, it is implied, not to enforce state gun-control laws that they don’t like. Such towns could exercise, in the words of the Burrillville Town Council, “sound discretion when enforcing laws impacting the rights of citizens under the Second Amendment.’’ In other words, they’ll enforce what they want.
Reminder: The towns and cities are legal children of the state, and their officials are required to follow state law.
Burrillville’s Town Council has already acted, promising, among other things, not to fund storage space in the town for firearms seized should the legislature enact a law that “unconstitutionally infringes upon the right of the people of the Town of Burrillville to keep and bear arms.’’ Glocester may soon follow. So the towns will determine what is “constitutional’’?
In other words, such towns would break state laws in order to have as little regulation as possible of guns. For some people these days, the Second Amendment is the only constitutional amendment they’re interested in.
Speaking of regulation, the Second Amendment 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.’’ (Italics mine.)=
For many years, the “regulated bit’’ was taken by both Republican and Democratic leaders in Washington to imply that careful gun control was both constitutional and necessary. But with the GOP’s rightward ideological march and the southward and westward direction of its votes, and Republican presidents’ selection of hard-right federal judges, amidst the growing lobbying power of the NRA and the gun-making trade, that changed.
Anyway, America’s federal system of laws will be gravely damaged if many more localities decide to only help enforce the state and federal laws they like. It’s not supposed to work that way.