Sheriff declares Stephens Co. ‘Second Amendment Sanctuary County’

Stephens County Sheriff Wayne McKinney announced Thursday his desire to make Stephens County a “Second Amendment Sanctuary County.”

The announcement came through a letter addressed to the residents of Stephens County on Feb. 13, in which McKinney declared Stephens County as a “Second Amendment Sanctuary County.”

Second Amendment sanctuary status, also known in simpler terms as a “gun sanctuary” is a trend which has been seen across the nation in recent months. The adoption of such resolutions aims to stand against both “infringement upon rights” and taking weapons from law-abiding citizens, according to McKinney.

McKinney said this has nothing to do with changing the way the Constitution currently reads, but after five months of thinking on it, he said this was the right time to make the declaration.

“I took an oath and that oath is to uphold the Constitution and that’s what I’m going to do,” McKinney said.

McKinney also expressed this is in no way encouraging people to carry firearms into prohibited places, but instead lets the public know he stands for the Second Amendment and the community’s legal rights as law-abiding citizens.

The “Declaration of Intent” from the McKinney reads as follows: 

“Let it be known that the Stephens County Sheriff hereby declares his intent to oppose any and all infringements on the rights and liberties of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms, using such legal means as may be expedient, including, without limitation, court action, and

“Let it be known that the Stephens County Sheriff hereby expresses his intent that no public funds will be used in any manner to restrict the Second Amendment rights of the citizens of Stephens County, or to aid federal, state, or any municipal agencies in the restriction of said rights, and

“Let it be known the undersigned Stephens County Sheriff hereby declares Stephens County as a ‘Second Amendment Sanctuary County’ on February 13, 2020.

“Now, therefore, let it be known that while the Stephens County Sheriff has so declared Stephens County, Oklahoma, a ‘Second Amendment Sanctuary County’ and also engages the Stephens County Board of Commissioners in respectfully recommending and petitioning their affirmative resolution of unqualified support for this declaration.

Signed under constitutional and legislative authority as the senior law enforcement officer in Stephens County Oklahoma this 13th day of February, 2020.” (SIC)

McKinney was not the first in Oklahoma to declare his county a Second Amendment sanctuary. 

Logan County Sheriff Damon Devereau declared Logan County a “Second Amendment Sanctuary County” on Feb. 12. While McKinney was met with mostly praise from the Stephens County community, State Rep. Jason Lowe, D-Oklahoma City, simply called Devereau’s declaration a “political stunt.”

“I would hope that the sheriff of Logan County would uphold all of the Constitution and not just parts of it,” Lowe said. “This is a political stunt that has nothing to do with public safety and everything to do with the sheriff’s politics. It also doesn’t change that Oklahomans have yet to have their say on whether the state should require training before someone carries a firearm in public.”

Lawmakers from Stephens County aren’t responding the same, however. 

Sen. Paul Scott, R-Duncan, supports McKinney in the declaration.

“Sheriff McKinney is the Chief law enforcement officer for Stephens County, an elected official, and has sworn to uphold the Constitution just like I have,” Scott said. “The Second Amendment is definitely part of the Constitution. I’m proud that we have a sheriff (who) will uphold the Constitution and the rights it affords. Stephens County is the second county in Oklahoma to make this declaration. I stand behind this declaration.”

Rep. Brad Boles, R-Marlow, said he also stands behind McKinney in his decision.

“I fully support Sheriff McKinney and his declaration regarding Stephens County being a Second Amendment Sanctuary County,” Boles said. “I have a proven voting history at the state level for supporting and defending our Second Amendment rights and will continue doing so as long as I have the honor and privilege of serving as your State Representative in House District 51.”

A letter from District Attorney Jason Hicks addressed to McKinney also shows support in upholding the Second Amendment and defending it on behalf of citizens.

“As you are aware, The Constitution of the United States of America, Amendment 2 states: ‘A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.’ The language of the Second Amendment to the Constitution is clear and unequivocal. A citizen’s right to own, posses and/or use a firearm is guaranteed,” Hicks wrote. “As elected officials, we took an oath to ‘support, obey, and (defend) the Constitution of the United States, and the Constitution of the State of Oklahoma.’ I take my oath very seriously, as I know you do, and will not ever seek to deprive a citizen of any freedom guaranteed by our laws. That is why I support your efforts in Stephens County to declare that our citizens will not fear the government’s decision to take firearms from them and that in this County, we will follow a strict interpretation of The United States Constitution.”

The end of McKinney’s letter asks for the support from Stephens County Commissioners. McKinney said the letter now “empowers” Commissioners to adopt the resolution if they so wish.

County Commissioners are expected to convene for a meeting at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 18. An agenda item related to making Stephens County a “Second Amendment sanctuary” appears on the agenda, which was posted around 4 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 13. The agenda item looks to adopt a resolution declaring Stephens County a “Second Amendment Sanctuary County.”

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