Update: This article was updated to include Kinney County in the list of “Second Amendment sanctuary” counties.
In July of last year, the Democratic commissioner’s court of a small, rural border county passed a resolution declaring themselves to be a “Second Amendment sanctuary.”
They asserted that any unconstitutional gun regulation “shall be regarded by the people of Presidio County to be unconstitutional and therefore by necessity unenforceable and invalid.”
Presidio County wasn’t the first in the state, but they were far from the last — since then, over forty counties in the state have passed a similar pro-Second Amendment resolution.
Counties in other states, such as New Mexico, had been the first in the country to begin the movement in the months prior to the earliest Texas resolutions.
After Presidio, though, a few more Texas counties began following their lead, including Mitchell County and Hood County.
The movement started picking up more traction in Texas in light of former presidential candidate from Texas Beto O’Rourke stating, “Hell, yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47.”
Many of the court commissioners who have introduced the resolution have cited the former candidate’s comments as something that has angered constituents who want reassurance that local officials will not stand by such blatant calls for gun confiscation.
A snowball effect soon emerged as county after county began passing the resolution in some form or another.
Most counties have followed the same format of declaring a gun “sanctuary” and asserting that they will not “authorize or appropriate government funds or resources … for the purpose of enforcing a law that unconstitutionally infringes on the right of the people to keep and bear arms.”
But some — mostly in the suburban areas surrounding the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex — have sought to show their support for the Second Amendment while not going to the lengths of calling themselves a “sanctuary” or stating that they will not help enforce unconstitutional gun laws.
Collin County was the first to break from the mold by passing a resolution that was simply a reaffirmation of the constitutional oath sworn by all elected officials in Texas.
Denton County followed suit with a resolution declaring itself a “Bill of Rights Protected County,” which acknowledged the “Constitution as the supreme law of the land.”
The commissioner’s court in Johnson County unanimously signed a proclamation declaring their support for the Second Amendment, though not without some debate about it’s exclusion of the word “sanctuary.”
“I reached out to legal counsel at the Texas Association of Counties and his thought was that we don’t want to be in the mix of sanctuary cities or harboring illegal aliens,” one commissioner said. “The word ‘sanctuary’ has a bigger role than what has been discussed here regarding state regulations and such.”
“I believe the people of Johnson County are smart enough to know the difference between illegal aliens and Second Amendment rights,” pointed out another commissioner.
Regardless of whether counties have passed “sanctuary” resolutions or have displayed their loyalty to the Second Amendment with a different proclamation, they are still sending a message to state and federal lawmakers that they — and their constituents who have urged them to pass the resolutions — are opposed to stricter gun regulations.
Over half of the counties in Texas to recently pass a pro-Second Amendment resolution — 28 confirmed by The Texan — did so in December.
The commissioners court in Shelby County is scheduled to vote on a Second Amendment sanctuary resolution on Wednesday, according to their agenda.
Residents in other counties, such as Llano County, are also continuing to urge their commissioners to pass sanctuary resolutions.
See below for the current list of counties confirmed to have passed a pro-Second Amendment resolution.
- Palo Pinto
- Van Zandt
*Reaffirmation of Constitutional Oath or Pledge to Support Second Amendment
If you are aware of any other Texas counties to pass pro-Second Amendment resolutions, please notify me via email at [email protected]
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Daniel Friend is a reporter for The Texan. He participated in a Great Books program at Azusa Pacific University and graduated in 2019 with a degree in Political Science. He has studied C.S. Lewis’s science fiction trilogy and in his spare time you might find him writing his own novel partly inspired by the series.