Marquette County Board rejects proposal, reaffirms support of Constitution

MARQUETTE — The Marquette County Board of Commissioners, at its regular Tuesday meeting, unanimously passed a resolution reaffirming its support of constitutional rights in response to a public proposed resolution to declare the county a “Second Amendment Sanctuary County.”

At the Jan. 7 meeting of the commissioners, the “Second Amendment Sanctuary County” resolution was presented to the board asking it to “affirm its support for the Marquette County Sheriff and the Marquette County Prosecuting attorney, in the exercise of their sound discretion to not enforce against any citizen an unconstitutional firearms law.”

The declaration of a county as a second amendment sanctuary asks elected officials not to impose onto its constituents any state laws passed that may be seen as violations of the Second Amendment.

The movement for sanctuary counties across the nation is in response to the recently passed and proposed gun laws, such as red-flag laws, which allow law enforcement to temporarily confiscate the firearms of individuals who authorities have determined may pose a danger to themselves or others.

During the public comment portion of the meeting, the individual who first presented the resolution to the board stated that while all citizens must abide by laws passed, “if that law is contrary to the Second Amendment I don’t see how it can be upheld.”

“It’s about having faith in elected officials that says that regardless of whatever law is passed on the books in Lansing if it is contrary to the Second Amendment, our county is not going to impose that law on its citizens,” he said. “That’s what we’re looking for. That’s our belief as to what a Second Amendment Sanctuary County is.”

Multiple other county residents addressed the proposed resolution during the public comment portion of the meeting.

Ryan Lipinski, who said he is a disabled veteran, expressed his concerns to the board while visibly shaking from injuries sustained during his service.

“The reason I am disabled is because I fought for our country’s constitutional rights and that’s why I shake here today,” Lipinski said. “If we allow our government to violate our Second Amendment rights, then what is the point of me obtaining the injuries that I have today? I will never sit still again and I’m going to shake for the rest of my life. There’s nothing that can be done about it. And all that is for nothing if we allow somebody to take away our rights.”

Mark Esterline of Ishpeming asked for the board’s support of the resolution.

“What we’re looking for from you as our commissioners and our county is to know that we have your support, to know that you’re behind us, that we’re not in this fight alone. None of us want to see a fight, none of us want to see the law coming to our door to take our guns. And that has been a threat throughout the nation,” Esterline said. “We’re looking toward our sheriffs to know that they’re not going to be coming if there are laws being passed that are unconstitutional laws. We see it (in) many other states where they’re not constitutional laws, but yet, are being enforced. We want to know that our commissioners, that our sheriffs, that our prosecutors are behind us to not prosecute nonconstitutional laws. There are enough people in the state that there will be an uprising, that there will be a fight and we’re hoping to falter before it gets to that point.”

After a legal review of the resolution by the county’s civil counsel, a resolution to reaffirm the board’s support of the constitution was drafted.

Marquette County Board Chairman Gerald Corkin noted that each board member takes an oath when they enter office swearing to support the U.S. Constitution and the constitution of the state.

After hearing from the public, the board unanimously passed its resolution which recognized the receipt of the proposed resolution and also states the board’s “civil counsel has opined that the proposed resolution exceeds our authority to the extent it directs the activities of the sheriff or prosecutor … it is hereby declared by the Marquette County Board of Commissioners that this commission does support and will continue to honor our pledge to support the constitution of the United States as well as the constitution of this state, including all amendments thereto.”

“We support the Second Amendment rights that’s what’s important out of the whole thing,” Corkin said. “As far as being able to tell the prosecutor and sheriff how to do their job, we’re not agreeing with that.”

Bob Fassbender of Chocolay thanked the board for reaffirming their vote, but asked them to take a roll call vote.

“A Second Amendment sanctuary city, to me, is somewhere where I can lay my head down at night without the worry of someone kicking my door in at 2 o’clock in the morning and taking my stuff from me through a red flag law. I have 150 names of people in the county that feel the same way about that as me,” Fassbender said. “I understand you can’t speak for the sheriff or the prosecuting attorney … I would ask that you’s either ‘yay’ or ‘nay’ on his resolution proposal, at least we know where you stand on his resolution as a group.”

Corkin stated the board’s position was clear and that while they support the constitution and Second Amendment, they would not declare Marquette County a Second Amendment Sanctuary County.

Trinity Carey can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 206. Her email address is tcarey@miningjournal.net.