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Commissioners in Kalkaska pass resolution on rights of gun owners

Kaye LaFond
Interlochen Public Radio

Kalkaska County Commissioners passed a resolution to become a "second amendment sanctuary" Thursday. 

Antrim County Commissioners passed a similar resolution affirming broader constitutional rights, however they struck language on "second amendment sanctuaries."

Kalkaska's resolution includes a pledge to not enforce "unconstitutional" laws infringing on the rights of gun owners.

Commissioners in Antrim and Kalkaska joined nine other Michigan counties by approving similar language Thursday. 

"This Board affirms its support for the Kalkaska County Sheriff and the Kalkaska County Prosecuting Attorney, in the exercise of their sound discretion to not enforce against any citizen an unconstitutional firearms law," the Kalkaska resolution reads.

A meeting of the Kalkaska Board of Commissioners Thursday night opened with public comment. So many people showed up to support the resolution that the meeting was relocated from the normal commission office to the nearby courthouse.

Cheboygan radio host Randy Bishop wrote the resolution and says it was sparked by proposed "red flag" laws in Virginia.

“They can pass whatever they want in Lansing, they can pass whatever they want in Washington (but) we the people say ‘not in our county,’” Bishop said.

In Kalkaska there was brief debate over the county commission's legal authority to enforce the resolution. Commissioner Kohn Fisher said the board has the authority to dispense funds and uphold state and national constitutions, but they may not be able to disregard future state law on firearms.

"This board does not enforce laws, we can't write laws, we can't write county-wide ordinances such as this," Kohn said.

Despite this, the board unanimously approved the resolution, drawing cheers from the audience of 40 to 50 people. Now 11 counties across the state have passed similar resolutions. The group behind them plans to introduce more in all 83 Michigan counties.

Editor's note: This story was corrected at at 6:30 a.m. on Feb. 7.  Antrim County passed a separate resolution affirming constitutional rights. The story has been updated to reflect that change. The incorrect version also aired on Morning Edition, but was promptly corrected. 

Max came to IPR in 2017 as an environmental intern. In 2018, he returned to the station as a reporter and quickly took on leadership roles as Interim News Director and eventually Assignment Editor. Before joining IPR, Max worked as a news director and reporter at Michigan State University's student radio station WDBM. In 2018, he reported on a Title IX dispute with MSU in his story "Prompt, Thorough and Impartial." His work has also been heard on Michigan Radio, WDBM and WKAR in East Lansing and NPR.