Gun Advocates Seek Sanctuary Status For Livingston

Gun rights advocates are urging the Livingston County Board of Commissioners to declare the County as a “sanctuary” in protecting the Second Amendment.

The Board room was packed Monday night, with guests even crowded in the doorway and lobby. Many of the attendees came to voice their support for a resolution proposed by the Michigan for 2A Sanctuary Counties group, which asks the Board of Commissioners to declare Livingston as a sanctuary county and, as stated in the proposal, “to not enforce against any citizen an unconstitutional firearms law”. The effort by the Sanctuary Counties group spread in the wake of gun control bills that have been proposed in Virginia. Included in the legislation is a “red flag” bill that gives law enforcement the authority to remove guns from people who are considered to be a danger to themselves or others.

Howell resident Phil Otte, a Firearms Safety and CPL course instructor, shared with WHMI why he feels it is important to become a Second Amendment sanctuary county stating, “In 2017…more people were murdered by hands, fists and feet that year…so the push to ban these long guns has nothing to do with public safety and saving lives. There’s another agenda. If it were about saving lives, we would ban cellphones. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 10,000 people are killed each year from distracted driving.”

Richard Knieper is the Livingston County Chair for Michigan for 2A Sanctuary Counties. In discussing why the initiative is so important to him Knieper says, “Our Second Amendment was created after our forefathers fought tyranny…and fought for our freedom. The Second Amendment was written…to protect us from a tyrannical government. Pretty simple.”

While the majority of those that spoke at Monday’s meeting were there in favor of the proposed resolution for a sanctuary county, there were also a couple of people that were not, including Cindy Kalogeropoulos, who was born and raised in Livingston County and taught high school outside of the county for 40 years. She says that she’s not trying to take citizens’ guns away, or that people don’t need a weapon to protect themselves, but does feel that those who may be a danger to themselves or others should not be able to readily access them.

Sharing a story about someone she knew that took their own life with a gun Kalogeropoulous says, “He was a former solider, a vet, and he couldn’t live with his depression any longer. If there had been a red flag bill in place, his weapons would’ve been removed because his wife tried to get them removed. They weren’t. And he’s no longer with us. So that’s my perspective.”

The former teacher also shares, “The day after Columbine I started locking my classroom doors. I did that because I wanted to protect my students. I didn’t do that because I wanted a gun to protect my students…I have been keeping track for the last two years. Every time there is a gun shooting I have checked stats with the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). Right now we’re up to an average of 109 gun deaths per day in this country. That’s unforgivable.”

Because the proposed resolution from the Michigan for 2A Sanctuary Counties was not on the Board of Commissioners’ meeting agenda, they did not discuss or take action on the issue. (DK)

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