By LauRose D. Felicity
On Wednesday (April 24) at 5:30 p.m. Curry County commissioners will hold a workshop on the proposed so-called Second Amendment Sanctuary Ordinance (SASO). The purpose of this workshop is to reach a conclusion as to whether “SASO” should be passed as an ordinance by commissioners or put on the ballot. This ordinance is the polar opposite of a negotiated compromise between responsible gun owners and those who advocate for sensible gun laws. It would allow no regulation of guns, gun owners, ammunition or accessories. None.
Passage of SASO would mark Curry County as a rogue government, which rejects its responsibility to enforce state and federal laws regarding firearms, ammunition and accessories. It would impose fines on Sheriff John Ward and other local law enforcement if they carry out their duties to “arrest those who are guilty of public offenses.”
The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, as applied by the U.S. Supreme Court in Heller, protects a person’s right to bear arms to defend themselves and their home. But it does not confer the right to anybody to possess and use any gun, anytime, anywhere. It specifically found “the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited.”
Under the proposed SASO, all of Curry County would experience all guns available at all times. The result would be like playing Russian roulette with the county’s financial survival. Curry County is already a government without excess funds. If SASO were passed, the county would be liable for harm done to citizens by other people as a result of its refusal to carry out its statutory duties. Insurers also surely could refuse to pay claims resulting from the county’s intentional refusal to follow state laws. Predictable horrific cost damages would likely occur, costs damages the county simply cannot afford, and would be unable to insure against.
At the workshop, I plan to present the attached legal memorandum explaining Second Amendment rights and responsibilities and the county’s liability for ordinances violating state law. I very much need you, your friends and neighbors to attend this workshop, too.
We need to show both personal and legal commitment to sane gun laws in Curry County, by showing up to let the commissioners know what we think about this proposed ordinance. I will welcome and need both your support and presence as I explain county responsibilities on the same agenda with those who believe and will argue that a Curry County Wild West, gun-toting future is what’s mandated by the Second Amendment.
Our safety and that of our school kids, movie goers and any others who congregate in public places is being challenged Wednesday. This crosses all political lines, and allies are necessary from everywhere in the county. Please be present to lend sanity to the dialogue.
LauRose D. Felicity is a retired attorney and chairs the Curry County Democrats.