Friday, April 16, 2021 : By Nathan Skates
In response to the Biden administration moving forward with execution action on gun restrictions and the passage of a major gun control bill in the House of Representatives, Nebraska’s Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts has issued a proclamation declaring the Cornhusker State a sanctuary for the Second Amendment’s right to keep and bear arms.
Few issues in the United States are more heated right now than the debate over gun rights, as evidenced by the recent trend of state and local governments taking executive and legislative action to protect their citizens’ Second Amendment rights against aggressive federal gun restrictions.
Ricketts explained, “Nebraska has always been a state that has supported our Second Amendment rights. As a symbol of that support, I am signing a proclamation declaring Nebraska a Second Amendment Sanctuary State, and with my signature it will become official.”
During an interview with Local4 News, he added, “I don’t believe we need to have further restrictions on our Second Amendment rights. When you put restrictions in place, the only people who follow them are law-abiding citizens — not the criminals.”
Ricketts issued the proclamation after President Joe Biden issued executive orders on gun control, including bans on so-called “ghost gun” kits and encouraging red flag laws. Several counties in Nebraska have already designated themselves as Second Amendment sanctuaries, including, most recently, Hall County.
Biden controversially stated, “No amendment to the Constitution is absolute,” insisting that you can’t yell “fire” in a crowded theater and call it freedom of speech — even though that oft-quoted analogy does not rise to the level of binding standard or Constitutional doctrine. The President also called gun violence an “epidemic” and an “international embarrassment.”
Ricketts responded to Biden by saying, “If you look at Nebraska, we don’t need any additional restrictions and I think the president is out of line when he says something like that because I don’t think the president is in touch with what people in Nebraska think, or even in the Midwest.”
The governor tweeted an image of the proclamation and said, “The White House and U.S. Congress have announced their intention to pursue measures that would infringe on the right to keep and bear arms. Nebraska will stand up against federal overreach and attempts to regulate gun ownership and use in the Good Life.”
Several other states have previously declared themselves Second Amendment sanctuaries, including Alaska, Kansas, Idaho, and Wyoming.
Arizona also recently joined the club when Republican Gov. Doug Ducey, R, signed the Second Amendment Firearm Freedom Act, which prohibits the use of any state personnel or funds to enforce federal gun laws that are inconsistent with state law.
Texas has a similar bill to Arizona’s pending in the state legislature.
Arizona’s Gov. Ducey noted, “At this time, that law has not changed anything. So, that was a proactive law for what is possible to come out of the Biden administration. There’s a lot of discussion out of Washington, D. C., about congressional action around the Second Amendment, and this law was simply to protect the rights that we already enjoy in Arizona.”
Rural counties and towns are also designating themselves as Second Amendment sanctuaries, giving their sheriffs permission the legal cover to ignore unconstitutional gun laws. Illinois jumpstarted the local trend when it passed a series of resolutions designed to protect gun rights, followed by Virginia in 2019, when more than 100 of its counties, cities and towns passed Second Amendment sanctuary measures after a newly elected Democratic majority began pursuing radical gun control measures. Currently, there are more than 400 counties that have officially designated themselves as Second Amendment sanctuaries, including Weber County, Utah, which officially announced its new status in early April.
Gun control advocates are trying to push back. In response to Ricketts’s proclamation, Robin Vodehnal, a board member with Nebraskans Against Gun Violence (NAGV), said, “Red Flag laws are something we would like to see. Background checks are something we would like to see. I would hope he would do more than that, but anything is better than nothing and we have nothing so far.”
She added, “Unfortunately guns are the No. 1 method used in Nebraska for suicides. So we are against the gun violence, but also guns in general. Suicide is one of the areas that we can do something about.”
Biden and Vodehnal’s comments are telling. The ultimate objective is not “common sense” gun restrictions but the repeal of the Second Amendment — if not literally then effectively. Biden’s comment that no amendment is absolute is incredibly dangerous and shows that he believes the government can infringe on Constitutional rights in the name of “safety.”
Vodehnal and those like her may feel they are doing something good but fighting to eliminate gun ownership to make the public safer is fallacious. The government cannot play nanny and protect against any and all dangers unless Americans want to forfeit their God-given freedoms. For example, if a person wants to commit suicide, that is tragic, but the fact is they have multiple options to end their own life. Taking away the right of all citizens to own a gun will not magically eliminate the act of suicide.
The arrogance of this view is also evidenced by gun control proponents like Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke, who infamously said, “Hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15.” O’Rourke also advocated for enforcement of gun control by police by saying, “Any law that is not followed or flagrantly abused, there have to be consequences or else there is no respect for the law.” Ironically, Democrats don’t take that same approach to illegal immigration or arson or rioting.
The Second Amendment exists not only for hunting or sport, but to protect one’s life, home, and family from criminals and, more to the point, to guard one’s freedoms against tyrannical governments. It is the tyrant who seeks to remove the populace’s ability to defend themselves, offering safety in return for their freedom.
It is not Biden’s place to say where constitutional rights end. Americans are granted their rights by God and they are protected by the Constitution. States and counties that choose to enact Second Amendment sanctuary laws are protecting their citizens’ role in determining what level of restriction — if any — they will place on their Second Amendment rights.