SPRINGFIELD — Gun rights supporters were at the Sangamon County Board meeting Tuesday requesting that board members adopt a resolution declaring Sangamon a gun sanctuary county.
No such resolution was on the agenda, but board members listened as three Springfield residents spoke in favor of the proposal. They are opposed to additional gun restrictions at the state level and asked the county board to take a stand.
"Tonight, I ask you to please consider protecting your constituents and the voters and the taxpayers of Sangamon County," said Springfield resident Rosanna Pulido. "Please pass a resolution to make Sangamon County a sanctuary for gun owners."
Other Illinois counties, including nearby Christian County, have adopted gun sanctuary resolutions. The terminology comes from so-called sanctuary cities, such as Chicago, that don't cooperate with aspects of federal immigration enforcement.
Speaking before the meeting, Sangamon County Administrator Brian McFadden said the county has an informal policy that it does not weigh in on symbolic measures that are outside its regulatory authority. Even if the county were to pass a gun sanctuary resolution, it would not affect the enforcement of federal, state or local gun laws.
"We're approached on a fairly regular basis by various groups to weigh in on issues like abortion, guns, gay marriage, or other issues that are not under the county's purview," McFadden said prior to Tuesday's meeting. "The feeling has been that if you address one of these, then you are going to have to address all of them. The county board wanted to keep the floodgates closed. If we make an exception for one group, then it would be hard to make an exception for another group ..."
McFadden has made similar comments before, and Pulido mentioned his statements when she was addressing the board.
"This is not a symbolic resolution. It is a defense of the Constitutional principle. It is incumbent on our local elected officials to make sure their constituents' voices are heard by the state in regards to protecting the Constitution. You took an oath of office to that effect," Pulido said.
Pulido, as well as Springfield residents Tom Shafer and Lynn Wilson, spoke at the end of the county board meeting. Board members did not comment or ask them any questions.
Shafer said it is important for the smaller counties to work together on the gun sanctuary issue. He compared the issue to the effort to pass Illinois' concealed carry law.
"I remember the fight we had when big city bureaucrats, big city legislators, many of them later found to be corrupt and sent to state and federal prison, said we couldn't care less about you gun owners. We couldn't care less about your rights," Shafer said.
The resolution adopted by Christian County last month demanded that the Illinois General Assembly cease further actions restricting the rights of people to keep and bear arms.
The Christian County resolution said, in part, that "if the governor of Illinois shall infringe upon the inalienable rights granted by the Second Amendment, Christian County shall become a 'sanctuary county' for all firearms unconstitutionally prohibited by the government of Illinois."