Grassroots group campaigns for gun ‘sanctuary’

By Mackenzi Klemann -

LIMA — Gun rights advocates concerned with calls to enact “Red Flag” laws or expand Ohio’s “pink slip” system are pressing counties to declare themselves Second Amendment sanctuaries, but it doesn’t appear that Allen County will become a gun sanctuary anytime soon.

The Allen County chapter of Ohio Stands United, a grassroots gun rights group spreading across the state, presented a draft resolution to establish a Second Amendment sanctuary within the county that was rejected by the Allen County commissioners on Thursday.

“We are probably some of the safest citizens around,” said Mike Brown, one of the founding members of the Allen County chapter. “We just want to protect our rights to that Second Amendment.”

Brown said the Allen County Ohio Stands United chapter has already recruited more than 200 members in the month since it was formed.

Sister chapters across the state are pushing counties to adopt Second Amendment sanctuaries. And according to Ohio Stands United’s Facebook page, several counties have already done so.

The group is focused on counties, Brown said, because it sees counties as a wall of defense against any gun control measures pursued by cities or the Ohio legislature.

“We would like them to sign the paper saying they would be behind us,” Brown said. “They verbally told us, 100% they would be behind us, but they don’t want to sign a resolution. That would be nice, to sign a resolution stating that they’re behind us.”

The Allen County commissioners declined to take up the measure because, as Commissioner Greg Sneary explained, the resolution would be unenforceable and could easily be overturned by future commissioners.

“We support the Second Amendment,” he said. But Sneary added that the commissioners only have the authority to do what the state says. “All they have to do is change the law and it’s illegal for us.”

Still, Ohio Stands United members plan to attend the commissioners’ weekly meetings until the resolution is signed. And several members are planning to meet with Allen County Sheriff Matt Treglia next week.

“As far as I’m concerned, I’m pro-Second Amendment,” Treglia said. “I took an oath when I took this office to defend the Constitution of the U.S. and the Constitution of Ohio, and I will do that to the best of my ability.”

He doesn’t believe the commissioners could enforce a gun sanctuary resolution, as Treglia is a duly elected official too. And Treglia said that while he has concerns regarding Red Flag laws adopted in other states, he doesn’t foresee Ohio taking the same path anytime soon.

“We have due process in the state and in this county,” said Treglia, who pointed to the probate courts as an example of how the county can process concerns regarding mental illness and temporary protection orders without violating a person’s due process rights. “That’s where I think ‘Red Flag’ laws fall extremely short of doing their job. I think that things that happen with irresponsible gun ownership have the largest outcome on responsible gun owners.”

By Mackenzi Klemann

Reach Mackenzi Klemann at 567-242-0456.

Reach Mackenzi Klemann at 567-242-0456.

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