Americans want protection from irresponsible gun owners

In Leonard Arthur’s impassioned April 9 letter to the editor (“Local veteran encourages passage of 2A resolution”), he encouraged the Genesee County Board of Commissioners to approve a resolution declaring the county a Second Amendment “sanctuary county.”

Mr. Arthur and others believe that adoption of such a proposal would protect gun owners against an intrusive government and so-called red flag laws, universal background checks and prohibitions against semi-automatic long guns and high-capacity magazines.

Michigan has no red flag law, there are no universal background checks and no prohibition against so-called assault rifles. So if nothing changes, commissioners would be taking a bold stand against . . . nothing.

But the intrusive government could come along at any time, perhaps in the middle of the night, and impose such restrictions.

• According to APM Research, about 77 percent of American adults support so-called red flag laws allowing police, or in some states, family members or other members of the public, to petition a state court to temporarily remove firearms from someone that court deems a danger to themselves or others.

• Gun dealers have to submit ownership applications to the FBI for background checks, but Congress has declined to expand that to include gun shows and individual sales. According to both the Gallop Poll and Pew Research, support for expanding background checks hovers at or near 90 percent.

• A federal ban on so-called assault weapons and high-capacity magazines was in effect from 1994 through 2004. The bans were never overturned by the courts. About 60 percent of Americans support such a ban. New York and Connecticut have passed bans and federal appellate courts have upheld both.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that private gun ownership is protected by the Second Amendment. But the court left the door open for Congress or individual states to enact restrictions on most everything other than an outright ban. The court has refused to hear any case involving anything but handguns, allowing lower court rulings that uphold restrictions to stand.

So the point is: Federal courts, not county boards, not individuals, get to decide what is constitutional.

At a county board meeting in early March, mlive/flint quoted Katrina Hensley, chairwoman of the Michigan for 2A Sanctuary Counties – Genesee, as saying “the Second Amendment was not crafted to keep individuals in check by the government, but rather for individuals to keep the government in check.”

During the current coronavirus pandemic, Ms. Hensley and the rest of us dearly hope government at all levels will act boldly to protect the public health and spread confidence the crisis will pass without the kind of panic that could prompt some gun owners to reach for them.

Likewise, a majority of Americans fervently wish elected leaders will someday display the will to protect us to the extent possible from irresponsible gun possession. — Ron Krueger, Grand Blanc Township