The Second Amendment Sanctuary counties movement now includes among its members America's hottest city - Needles, California in San Bernardino County. A major reason stated for the new resolution was to urge travelers to stop bypassing the town as a way to avoid running afoul of the state's onerous gun restrictions.
A statement released by representatives of the City of Needles on Saturday read,
“The Needles City Council has voted unanimously to declare itself a Second Amendment sanctuary city. In taking this action, the city became the first California city to make such a formal declaration. In addition to declaring itself a Second Amendment sanctuary city, the council voted to form an ad hoc committee to study the issue and draft a resolution setting forth requested changes in California gun laws and policy.”
Councilor Timothy Terral had asked for the measure to be on the June 15th agenda because he had noticed that many people were not coming through needles but rather by passing it simply because they could not carry their firearms into the city because of California state law.
It was noted by Teral and others during the meeting that many travelers, including those wishing to see historic Route 66, had been using alternate routes because of the threat of arrest simply for carrying their firearms. Route 66 and the accompanying local historic Motel 66 are the major draws for any tourists who happen to make their way this far out into the desert.
Route 66 in this area was built upon the centuries-old Mohave Trail, meandering its way through the picturesque Mohave National Preserve and past the ruins of old Fort Mohave. The route was one of the first interstate highways built in America and was the main corridor for all Chicago-to-Los Angeles traffic for decades.
Mayor Jeff Williams was quoted in the statement as saying,
“The city council wanted our community to know that we support their Second Amendment rights to keep and bear arms. While we recognize that all lawful gun owners are responsible for ensuring they are compliant with state and federal gun laws, we also recognize that the state of California cannot adopt laws that impair the rights guaranteed by the Second Amendment. We will be working through our ad hoc committee to develop a resolution for city council consideration addressing in greater detail our concerns with California’s existing gun laws.”
The resolution goes on to formally request three things of the California state government:
- The sheriff department refrain from enforcing weapons violations by residents of Arizona, California, and Nevada within the city;
- The state legislature and governor to pass an exemption to California's gun control laws within a 65-mile radius of Needles;
- For reciprocity of concealed weapons permits with Nevada and Arizona to be allowed and agreed upon with those states.
Needles is one of the hottest inhabited places in the world, with summer temperatures occasionally hitting 120 degrees or more. With winter daytime temps hovering around 70 degrees, Needles would be a more popular stop along the historic vacation route, were it not for gun control keeping some visitors from coming at all.