Logan County became the first Oklahoma county to make a declaration as a “Second Amendment sanctuary” last week, sparking a state-wide movement that is continuing to grow and has recently spread into southern Oklahoma.
Johnston County Sheriff Jon Smith and Marshall County Sheriff Danny Cryer declared their stances on gun rights this week, joining 17 other Oklahoma counties that have recently adopted resolutions to impede the enforcement of gun control legislation perceived as violations of the Second Amendment.
Several states and counties nationwide adopted similar laws and resolutions earlier on, however the movement didn’t catch on in Oklahoma until Feb. 12, 2019.
“This is kind of a move that began a while back in some other states. The sheriffs, with their legislatures and such passing legislation restricting firearms,” Smith said. “There’s all kinds of issues that have been dealt with lately regarding firearms.”
Johnston County Sheriff Jon Smith drafted a declaration of intent on Feb. 14 and officially announced the county’s establishment as a “Second Amendment sanctuary” on Feb. 18.
In the document, Smith states that no public funds will be used to restrict the Second Amendment rights of the citizens of Johnston County and that no aid will be rendered to any federal, state or municipal agencies in the restriction of said rights.
“We’re merely defending that and the rights of the people to possess and own firearms,” Smith said. “We’re not extremists in any form of the word, but we do have an obligation to defend the citizens’ rights, as well as everything else that we’re responsible for.”
Smith said several citizens had reached out to him recently to express their concerns over political rhetoric involving the seizure of firearms, asking him “What are you going to do?”
His declaration was a way for him to respond to their concerns and tell the county, “This is our stand and we stand with you in this specific Second Amendment right to keep and possess firearms,” Smith said.
Marshall County Sheriff Danny Cryer said he, too, was approached by citizens concerning their gun rights and decided to establish the county as a “Second Amendment sanctuary” on Feb. 18.
“I believe our citizens should be armed and should be able to protect themselves. The government should not intrude on people’s personal safety,” Cryer said. “I’ve always been a huge advocate for the Second Amendment.”
In the past, Cryer said he has made efforts to demonstrate his support for citizens’ gun rights in other ways. After a Marshall County resident defended their home from a home invasion by the use of a firearm, Cryer presented the individual with a medal.
“I think Oklahomans should be armed and well armed,” Cryer said. “So this was just to make them feel warm and fuzzy and feel like we’re doing the same thing as other counties.”
Cryer and Smith have both asked that their county board of commissioners support their declarations. “I just want our county commissioners to join me in this and help me support it,” Cryer said.
On Monday, Feb. 24, the Johnston County Board of Commissioners and the Marshall County Board of Commissioners are expected to issue a resolution of support.
“You can look at history and you can see globally what the effects have been of countries where their firearms were either seized or they gave them up,” Smith said. “History tells you that the consequences were terrible.”