The first shot?
I heard about this on Guntalk, I have also heard that the sheriff of Pike County has issued a statement he will not enforce any laws that infringe upon the 2nd Amendment short of a federal court order. Very interesting.
Pike County, Illinois Votes "No"
"Pike County is renowned for some of the best whitetail and wild turkey hunting in Illinois. That deserved reputation has turned hunting into a significant revenue source for the county and its residents.
A threat to that revenue may cause Pittsfield, the county seat, to someday be known as the spot where a quiet groundswell of protest against the growing proliferation of firearms restrictions finally erupted into grassroots action.
On Tuesday evening the Pike County Board citing the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States, passed a resolution saying no to any state legislation limiting the right to keep and bear arms would be recognized in Pike County.
Their resolution minces no words:
"Now, Therefore, It Be And Is Hereby Resolved, that the people of Pike County, Illinois, do oppose the enactment of any legislation that would infringe upon the Right of the People to Keep and Bear Arms, and deem such laws to be Unconstitutional and beyond lawful Legislative Authority."
In short, no state law placing any limitations on firearms will be valid in Pike County.
This action is aimed squarely at a measure currently being proposed by the state legislature. This proposed state legislation would outlaw semiautomatic firearms and ban .50 caliber firearms (including muzzleloaders). It is being championed by two Chicago residents: Mayor Richard M. Daley and Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich.
It may be popular in Chicago political circles, but it's not going to win Blagojevich any votes in Pike County.
One of the two Pike County Board Members who sponsored the Resolution, Robert Kanady, says he hopes the measure would "be the spark that lights a cannon heard all across the United States."
Co-sponsor Mark Mountain said: "We have to stand up. We have to voice our opinion. As an individual, it doesn't mean much. As a county, it means more. As three or four counties, it means a lot."
In recognition of the resolution's importance, the Tuesday meeting was reportedly the most heavily attended public meeting in county history. Residents overflowed the courtroom, spilling out into the courthouse rotunda.
The measure also had extensive public discussion. At one point, a reluctant commissioner raised concerns that perhaps the measure was a "political hot button" and not something in which a county government should involve itself.
That drew an emotional response from one resident:
"This proposed legislation would greatly harm the citizens of this county, and we believe the members of our County Board are bound by the oaths of office to speak for us on this issue.
"The issue here is not politics, the issue is freedom. Freedom began in this nation more than 200 years ago, when small groups of people like us, in towns even smaller than ours, gathered together to tell the King who tried to rule them from a huge city an ocean away, 'Enough is enough!' Freedom will only survive today if we have the courage to do the same."
In closing, he offered: "In this room tonight we are not conservatives; we are not liberals. In this room tonight we are not Democrats; we are not Republicans. In this room tonight we are Americans."
The standing ovation he received was apparently enough to convince the Commission to overwhelmingly pass the measure.
Pike County's resolution may, indeed, be unprecedented in modern history. Our research (albeit brief at this point) has yet to produce another instance of a county government having voted to refuse to enforce proposed state statutes it viewed to be in conflict with federal law.
And the Pike County Resolution minces no words as to why they felt the action necessary: "the People of Pike County, Illinois, derive great economic benefit from all safe forms of firearms recreation, hunting, and shooting conducted within Pike County using all types of firearms allowable under the United States Constitution and the Constitution of the State of Illinois."
The resolution also cites the Commission's sworn duty to uphold the United States Constitution and the Constitution of the State of Illinois, saying the proposed legislation currently under consideration by the Illinois State Legislature would "infringe the Right of the People to Keep and Bear Arms, and would ban the possession and use of firearms now employed by individual citizens in Pike County, Illinois, for defense of Life, Liberty, and Property, and would ban the possession and use of firearms now employed for safe forms of firearms recreation, hunting, and shooting conducted within Pike County, Illinois.
In Canada, several provincial governments flatly refused to enforce revisions to the country's firearms registry. The provincial governments said the changers were not only ill advised, but unenforceable. Eventually their resistance became a major political factor, turning out the liberal ruling party and electing a conservative government that has systematically dismantled the registry.
The decision in Pike County was not one that was lightly made, nor considered. Officials had carried on quiet talks with outside Illinois before Tuesday evening's vote. We have learned those talks have led other local governments to begin considering similar measures as a means of expressing their displeasure with attempts to legislate firearms out of the hands of law-abiding citizens.
Individuals involved in those conversations speak of the frustration of a large, and formerly quiet group of citizens who feel the will of the majority of the people is being ignored by legislators.
Should Pike County's resolution catch on across Illinois and correspondingly across America, this single action taken by a small county government may, indeed, ignite a chain of similar actions across the country that serve notice that the majority opinion of Americans heartland regarding firearms will no longer be ignored.
We will keep you posted.
Worth Noting Around the Firearms Industry
As was reported in yesterday's edition of The Outdoor Wire, Pike County, Illinois has fired back at Illinois legislators who seem intent on passing progressively restrictive gun laws. With an economy that's heavily dependent on the hunting industry, Pike County's Commission passed a resolution which has told state legislators Pike will not recognize legislation that infringes on the right to keep and bear arms as is guaranteed under the Second Amendment of the Constitution.
Word of that action is spreading across the United States and other small counties are beginning to discuss their own measures to prevent the usurpation of their rights by legislators they feel are either disconnected or indifferent to their jurisdiction's needs.
As word begins to spread, the Pike County officials who spearheaded the resolution are finding themselves celebrities.
This Sunday, Tom Gresham's taking his national radio show "Tom Gresham's Gun Talk" to Pike County, Illinois. The reason? Gresham says "These brave people fired a rhetorical shot starting a new phase of the gun rights war."
Gresham will feature Robert Kanady and Mark Mountain, the pair of Pike County Commissioners who pushed for the resolution as well as Dick Metcalf, nationally -known gun writer and president of the Pike-Adams Sportsmen's Alliance (PASA). Gresham's show will originate from PASA Park in Barry, Illinois, at the end of the USPSA's Single Stack national championship.
Others, including Rob Leatham, 18-time USPSA National Champion and 12 time Single Stack competition champion are scheduled to appear.
And firearms are at the center of a new study you're more than likely not going to see quoted often in "mainstream" media. A new study from criminologists Don B. Kates and Gary Mauser examines the question "would banning firearms reduce murder and suicide?"
The results, drawn from a review of international and domestic evidence, may rock the consciousness of the anti-firearms organizations. According to their research, the availability of firearms has nothing to do with murder and suicide. Their conclusions demonstrate that suicide, murder and violent crime rates are determined by basic social, economic and/or cultural factors with the availability of any particular one of the world's myriad deadly instrument being irrelevant.
Don B. Kates is an American criminologist and constitutional lawyer associated with the Pacific Research Institute, San Francisco, California. Dr. Gary Mauser is a Canadian criminologist and university professor at Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC Canada.
You can read more about their study in the feature story in today's edition of The Shooting Wire (www.shootingwire.com if you aren't a subscriber).
And in Texas, some very unusual collaborators are taking on a group of Texas prosecutors who appear to be taking the law into their own hands - at least when it comes to Texas' concealed weapons laws.
In a report called "Above the Law: How Texas prosecutors are placing their own judgment over that of the Legislature and the law of the land" the American Civil Liberties Union has collaborated with the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition and the Texas State Rifle Association to unveil the actions of some Texas prosecutors who don't care for the clarifications made to Texas' concealed-carry laws. The clarification states, simply, that citizens have the right to carry a legal handgun in a private vehicle.
Some Texas prosecutors didn't like that new law — to the point several directed local police to ignore the statute.
In the joint report, it appears that in at least 13 jurisdictions in Texas, that is, indeed the case. 13 county/district attorneys, including district attorneys for counties in large metropolitan areas like Houston and Fort Worth, have instructed police officers to interrogate Texans unnecessarily, arrest Texans, or take their guns even if they are legally carrying the gun in a car under HB 823 standards.
According to the report, one County Attorney One "advised police officers that it's simply too complicated to try and determine whether a Texan is legally carrying a stowed gun in the car, so officers should arrest for "unlawful carrying" as before and let the prosecutor's office 'sort out the legal niceties.'"
Those are fighting words to the authors of "Above the Law" and they have countered by naming those County Attorneys, citing examples of their having instructed officers to either circumvent or ignore the law, and publishing a guideline of "what to do if you're stopped".
The report hit the streets this week, and it's expected that the County Attorneys named in it will be hitting the ceilings.
Should make for some interesting conversations over the next few weeks.
As always, we'll keep you posted.