The Latest Rundown on the Current Status of Texas' Second Amendment Sanctuary Counties
Earlier this year, Gun Rights Watch reported on a handful of Second Amendment Sanctuary movements going on in the western border regions of Texas. These were primarily focused on the need for protection of citizens against a large number of foreign nationals unlawfully entering the country via the poorly protected southern border in those areas. That part of the state leans a bit more left than the rest of the state, however, and two of those attempts eventually failed by slim margins.
Since then, localities in other parts of the state have taken notice and have begun passing similar measures. Backed by growing coalitions of activists for the right to keep and bear arms, these resolutions have been both increasing in frequency and an improved success rate.
Here's a list of counties and municipalities that have passed resolutions so far, and what we know at the time of this writing about other locations trying to do the same.
Not widely reported, the Edwards County Facebook page posted a pair of photos and a list of statistics on gun deaths in the US back on June 12th, 2018. The two photos were of the Second Amendment Sanctuary resolution that had just been passed. Information about the meeting to vote on the resolution appears to be hard to find, although comments suggest that one Commissioner may have voted against it.
Copies of the resolution appear below:
From our earlier update:
Hudspeth County (see our story here)
March 2019: Hudspeth County became the first county in Texas to pass a Second Amendment Sanctuary Resolution on March 12th when Sheriff Arvin West spoke to reporters and floated the idea, citing the gradual loss of freedoms being enacted by the federal government and the repeated incursions across the border along with an associated rise in the crime rate. The County Commissioners agreed to hear a proposal and voted in favor despite having to turn down federal funds for border security as a consequence of doing so.
Presidio County (see our story here)
July 2019: Presidio County was the next to take up the cause as newspaper stories of border incursions as well as break-ins, trespassing, thefts, and assaults became more commonplace throughout the large county. With a far more heightened level of press coverage this time, homeowners and business owners from the area crowded a tiny courtroom on July 10th with news teams in attendance as an all-Democrat County Commission passed a resolution protecting gun rights by a 4 to 5 vote.
Jeff Davis County (not yet passed)
It was reported on Marfa Public Radio that the effort to pass a Second Amendment Sanctuary Resolution on August 12th had been tabled, with the Commissioners there taking more time to learn more about what a potential measure of this nature might mean legally for the county. Watchers hopeful for the vote to happen on September 9th were disappointed when discussions on the topic failed to materialize, but the anticipation was once again renewed on September 19th when the Jeff Davis County Mountain Dispatch published a story explaining that talks about the resolution were still underway. In most counties across the country where this has happened, the inaction is usually the result of disagreements over wording. It's far too early at this time to call this decision dead in the water.
Brewster County (failed)
On September 18th, Commissioners in Brewster County voted 3 to 2 against a sanctuary resolution, largely using arguments from neighboring Jeff Davis County. Marfa Public Radio reported on the meeting the following day.
Brewster County Commissioner Sara Colando said,
“I worry that it might actually harm us, by declaring a sanctuary. That term is not defined in any legal sense.”
Brewster County Sheriff Ronny Dodson and Brewster County Republican Party Chairman Monica McBride presented the resolution proposal, after which Sheriff Dodson gave a short speech in support of the Second Amendment in broad terms, pointing out that the residents of the county need firearms for self-defense. Dodson owns a gun shop and commented that is he a bit of a gun enthusiast. he added,
“There’s no way that the guys we have can protect everybody’s home in this county at one time. It’s just impossible.”
Information is lacking at this time, but several news outlets have reported in passing that Mitchell County passed its own Second Amendment Sanctuary resolution. We're also hearing from other unconfirmed sources that it happened on September 23rd.
USSAnews.com also reported,
"On Monday, Parker County, Texas voted unanimously to become a Second Amendment Sanctuary. They join 5 other counties, Hudspeth, Presidio, Edwards, Mitchell, Parker, and Hood, that have stated they will back their Sheriffs in not enforcing unconstitutional laws."
Until GRW finds information contradicting these reports, we will assume their veracity and keep Mitchell green on our map.
The Hood County Commissioners on October 8th passed a resolution declaring the county a “Second Amendment sanctuary county” for gun owners by banning the enforcement of any unconstitutional firearm laws that might be passed in the future by the state or federal government.
The measure was the proposal of Hood County Sheriff Roger Deeds, who gave a short but impassioned speech about gun rights in the county's courthouse. A few weeks ago, the Sheriff was quoted as saying,
“I have people ask me all the time, ‘What are you going to do to protect my gun? Are you gonna work with the feds to take my AR-15? We’re not. We’re not going to do that. I’m going to work with the court. We’re going to try to pass a ‘sanctuary county’ bill.”
State Rep. Mike Lang (R-Granbury), chair of the House Freedom Caucus, stated after the vote,
“I overwhelmingly support this initiative and it would not have been possible without the courageous support of Hood County Sheriff Roger Deeds who has championed the issue and who would ultimately, along with the people, be the one to ensure the measure is enforced.”
Channel 5 of Dallas/Forth Worth reported about the text of the resolution, which says that County commissioners took an oath to support and defend the U.S. and Texas, as long as the laws are constitutional. It adds,
"Commissioners Court affirms its support for the duly elected Sheriff of Hood County, Texas, in the exercise of his sound discretion, and affirms its resolve to support decisions by our Sheriff to not enforce any unconstitutional firearms restrictions against any citizen."
The Weatherford Democrat reports that Parker County passed a Second Amendment Sanctuary resolution last Monday, October 28th. The proposal was put forth by Precinct 1 Commissioner George Conley, who stated at the time,
“They have already warned us that this is what they’ve planned on doing, so we have been warned. It seems to me that it’s OK to have sanctuary cities, but it’s not OK to have a sanctuary county, so that’s why I put this on here to see if we want to step out there and do that.”
Roughly a dozen people spoke both for and against the resolution, split more or less evenly. In the end, though, the County Commissioners voted unanimously to approve it. The full text of the resolution is below.
TexasScorecard.com reports that for the second time in two days, another Second Amendment Sanctuary resolution was passed on Tuesday, October 29th in Smith County. Former Smith County Commissioner JoAnn Fleming, who runs the group Grassroots America - We The People issued a flyer that morning supporting the resolution and passed it around. It contained a statement from Smith County Sheriff Larry Smith, with this message:
“I believe the County Sheriff is the last line of defense between the federal government and the citizens of the United States; therefore, if elected Sheriff of Smith County, Texas, I, Larry R. Smith, pledge to the People of Smith County, Texas, that I will at all times support and defend the People’s liberties as defined by the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights; this strongly includes, but is not limited to, the First and Second Amendments. I will defend the People against acts by agents or agencies which may attempt to enforce unconstitutional federal acts in the contravention of state law and in direct violation of the Tenth Amendment. Outside agencies working in Smith County, Texas, will adhere to the rule of law and will not violate the Constitutional protections of citizens under my jurisdiction.”
Gun owners of America worked to promote the passage of the resolution and posted about it on their Facebook page afterward. CBS19 wrote about it when it passed, and credited us with tracking Second Amendment Sanctuary resolutions in Texas.
Smith County Commissioners voted 4 to 1 to adopt the resolution reaffirming the right to keep and bear arms. The only Democrat Commissioner voted against the gun rights declaration, the full text of which is below:
In Waxahachie, Texas on Tuesday, November 5th, a resolution was unanimously approved by the Ellis County Commissioners’ Court at 2:00 pm in the Ellis County Historic Courthouse confirming and supporting the Second Amendment to the US Constitution, protecting their citizens’ individual right to keep and bear arms. The vote was 4-0, with one commissioner not in attendance.
Ellis County Sheriff Chuck Edge had previously expressed his support for the resolution, as well as another candidate for Sheriff, Brad Norman.
Side note: This resolution follows the July removal of restrictions on carrying firearms within the courthouse building by licensed CCW holders.
A total of twelve Ellis County residents participated in the session, urging the court to approve of the resolution. One local resident, Kathy Ponce, said,
“Our gun rights are being taken away daily. The Second Amendment shall not be infringed upon.”
After the decision, Ellis County Judge Todd Little said,
“I pledged to the Ellis County citizens to always fight for their Second Amendment rights, today was about the people, and the commitment to defend their freedoms.”
Commissioner Paul Perry added on by stressing the importance of government officials making it clear that they stand by the Constitution.
A copy of the resolution is below.
Second Amendment Sanctuary Cities:
City of Chester
The Anti-Red Flag Ordinance
Previously unreported by us, the tiny City of Chester (pop: 361) in Eastern Texas' Tyler County became the first locality of any kind to pass a Second Amendment Sanctuary ordinance in 2019, aimed especially at Red Flag laws. The ordinance actually makes it illegal to call in a red flag alert on others, creating an 'Anti-Red Flag Ordinance'.
The full text of the new law was not available to us, but it ends with,
“In effect, the City of Chester, Texas creates a Sanctuary City for Legal Gun Owners … Texas Licensed Hunters, Firearm Collections, Arsenals, Christians and those persons bearing arms under the Second Amendment.”
The measure was introduced by Mayor Floyd Petri and was approved unanimously by the Chester City Council on February 4th. The Mayor had held a town hall 2 days prior to the vote to discuss the idea with residents, who were in broad favor of the bill. Former Mayor Elton Lawrence, Chester's previous mayor, was also in attendance and confirmed that he too supported Petri’s proposal.
Second Amendment Support Resolution
Following up on their earlier ordinance, the Chester City Council next took a further step towards protecting gun rights on March 4th by unanimously passing a resolution supporting the sanctity of the Second Amendment and goes on to demand that Congress upholds its duty to the people by fulfilling their, “Oath of office to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution.”
City of Big Spring
Officially, Big Spring voted down their Second Amendment Sanctuary resolution by a 2 to 4 vote on Tuesday, October 9th — but only because they had already passed the same resolution back in 2014 and the City Council felt it wasn't necessary to pass another one. The measure was presented by Mayor Shannon Thomason on his Facebook page, to widespread approval by city residents.
Upcoming Second Amendment Sanctuary resolution votes:
Kaufman County (voting Tuesday, November 12th)
The Kaufman County GOP's website tells us that they have internally approved a resolution and will present it for a vote on November 12th. Indications would lead us to believe that it is likely to pass.
Stephens County (voting Tuesday, November 12th)
Word just came to us via activists in the state that Stephens County already has a Second Amendment Sanctuary resolution vote planned for next week. We'll update with more information as we get it.
Palo Pinto County (voting Tuesday, November 12th)
We just found out that making Palo Pinto County voting on whether the county should become a Second Amendment Sanctuary County is on the agenda for the county commissioners' scheduled Tuesday session.
Second Amendment Sanctuary resolution movements in progress:
- Jeff Davis County (see above)
- Reeves County (information came via word of mouth to GRW)
- Llano County (via the Llano County 2A Sanctuary Facebook page)
Special thanks to Stacy Leigh Roberts for pointing us in the right direction in obtaining some of this information.
As always, GRW advises residents to check with local police or the Sheriff's Office before violating any gun control laws.