Ionia County MI, passes ‘Second Amendment Sanctuary’ resolution

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By: Evan Sasiela – Sentinel-Standard
Posted Feb 12, 2020 at 6:00 PM

IONIA — The Ionia County BOC unanimously voted at its Tuesday, Feb. 11, meeting to pass a resolution declaring the county as a “Second Amendment Sanctuary County.”

The vote was 6-0, with District One Commissioner and Chair David Hodges absent.

Last month, Ionia County resident Randy Schmid approached the board about making Ionia County a “Second Amendment Sanctuary County” — after the Democratic majority legislature in Virginia introduced bills to regulate gun control.

Since then, counties across the U.S. have discussed or passed resolutions supporting the right to bear arms as protected by the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

The resolution was on the agenda at the BOC meeting on Jan. 21, but was tabled following feedback from Ionia County Prosecutor Kyle Butler and Sheriff Charlie Noll. Their titles are listed in the resolution.

Butler and Noll attended Tuesday’s meeting. Butler said his concerns were alleviated after checking citations of the law and speaking with county prosecutors.

“This is a statement,” Butler said. “It’s not going to trump anything.”

Noll said he supported the resolution proposed by Scott Parmalee, chairman for Michigan for 2A Sanctuary Counties-Ionia. Noll said it doesn’t change how he or Butler conduct their business.

“I think it’s time we move past this,” Noll said.

There were two resolutions prepared for Tuesday’s meeting: Parmalee’s and one prepared by county attorney Gordon Love that was titled “A Resolution Affirming the Ionia County Board of Commissioner’s Support of Constitutional Rights Including the People’s Right to Keep and Bear Arms.”

The commissioners elected to vote for Parmalee’s resolution.

Parmalee, a Dansby Township resident, said a vote for Love’s resolution would be a failure for his cause. He said Love’s resolution did not use the world “sanctuary” that is consistent with other counties in the U.S.

He said he wasn’t in favor of the word, but that’s what Virginia used and the resolution shows “solidarity.” Parmalee also clarified the resolution is not a law.

“The resolution doesn’t carry any weight,” he said.

An hour-long public hearing took place Tuesday before the vote, allowing the board to receive feedback from the standing-room only crowd. The majority of those who spoke were in favor of the board passing the resolution.

Mandy Brzezinski, a public defense attorney who lives in Ionia County, spoke against the resolution, saying “this is a waste of time” and that Second Amendment rights currently exist.

“We are not in Virginia, we are in Michigan,′ Brzezinski said.

Resident Jim Donahue was for the resolution, saying “the Bill of Rights is not a political football.”

“The people are standing up today and saying this far and no more,” Donahue said.

Lynn Mason, chair of the Ionia County Democratic Party, opposed the resolution, saying “this is a time where emotions are high about everything.”

“This to me seems like overkill,” Mason said.

Ionia County Republican Party Chair Miranda Sharp Boisseau provided a letter to The Sentinel-Standard addressing the BOC and telling commissioners to vote for the resolution.

“Each of you are declared Republicans who pledge to be dedicated to protecting the platforms that our Republican Party was established on when founded in 1854,” Sharp Boisseau said.

Ionia City Council Second Ward Councilman Richard Starr spoke Tuesday, saying he was speaking as a citizen and that people have asked him to speak. He is a military veteran of 21 years.

“A resolution for Ionia County needs to state we are a Second Amendment sanctuary,” Starr said.

When District Two Commissioner and Vice Chair Larry Tiejema closed the public hearing, board members were ready to vote.

“It’s a message, and they know it’s a message,” said District Four Commissioner Chris Bredice. “I’m ready to pass it. That’s where I’m at.”

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Wirtz moved to approve Parmalee’s resolution, with support from Sharp. Following the unanimous vote, some residents in the crowd applauded.

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