by Lee Williams
There are few stories the mainstream media enjoys more than “trend” stories.
Whether it’s plant-based fake meat, live-streamed workouts, celebrity podcasts or TicTok and other new apps, the media revels in reporting the latest trends that are sweeping the country – at least most of the time.
However, if the trend involves guns or the Constitution – especially the Second Amendment – don’t look for stories anytime soon, even if it’s a viral national trend.
The mainstream media has missed one of the biggest trend stories ever – the massive surge in Second Amendment sanctuaries at the state, county and local levels.
The number of states, counties and cities declaring themselves Second Amendment Sanctuaries is skyrocketing.
As it stands now, more than 46% of all counties in the United States have declared themselves Second Amendment Sanctuaries, according to Noah Davis of sanctuarycounties.com and its companion site constitutionalsanctuaries.com.
Davis has been tracking the movement since its inception – tallying the growing numbers every single day.
“There are 1,459 Second Amendment sanctuary counties, out of a total of 3,144 counties, but I’m still tallying them right now,” Davis told me Wednesday. “I’ve got a bit of a backlog. I’m working on updating my national map, but they’re happening so fast, and I’m just one person in Virginia.”
The 1,459 includes counties located in the 10 states that have declared themselves Second Amendment Sanctuaries, he explained.
Davis, too, has seen little interest and major errors in the media’s coverage of the Second Amendment sanctuary movement.
“There have been people writing about it, but most refer to an article that was published in the Trace more than a year ago,” he said. “That story indicated there were only 400 Second Amendment sanctuary counties, but that number is completely out of date.
“This is frustrating to me,” he said.
Davis explained that he was not politically active until the Democrats took control of the Virginia state government.
“They started proposing laws that would have made many Virginians like myself felons overnight,” he said. “I started looking for ways to fight back.”
Within a few months, he said, more than 95% of Virginia’s counties had declared themselves Second Amendment sanctuaries, and then the movement was copied in Kentucky and Michigan.
“After that it just took off,” he said.
As the movement grew, Facebook intervened. Second Amendment sanctuary groups with hundreds of thousands of members were shuttered by Facebook in Michigan, Georgia and elsewhere.
“They realized we were being too effective,” Davis said.
Davis’ numbers are staggering.
You’d be hard-pressed to get half of America to agree that beer is good, or that steak should be served medium rare. Yet millions of Americans have forced their elected officials to erect a legislative wall around their communities to protect their gun rights.
Despite the skyrocketing trend, stories about the Second Amendment sanctuary movement are scarce, unless they’re anti-gun.
Vice news recently wrote a hit piece about the sanctuary movement: “These ‘Gun Sanctuary States’ Want to Destroy Biden’s Gun Control Plans.”
But even Vice couldn’t conceal the effectiveness of the movement.
“In the month of April alone, six states—Arizona, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and West Virginia—became so-called gun sanctuaries. But the specifics of the bills range widely, from political grandstanding, to having the potential to trigger a nasty constitutional showdown,” Vice reported. “At least seven more states, including Texas, have meanwhile introduced legislation proposing Second Amendment sanctuary protections. Four states—Alaska, Idaho, Kansas, and Wyoming—passed gun protection laws during the Obama administration.”
Most Second Amendment sanctuary bills are simple. They declare that the municipal, county or state government simply won’t recognize or enforce any federal law that infringes upon the Second Amendment.
Many of these laws bar local officials from participating in any federal enforcement. Some add civil and criminal penalties.
A few would criminalize the actions of federal agents if they try to enforce federal gun laws, but many say this is a step too far, as it could spark costly lawsuits from the U.S. Justice Department.
While some gun control proponents have spoken out against the Second Amendment sanctuary movement, they have not been as vocal as they have about other advances in gun rights.
The Giffords director of litigation, Hannah Shearer told Vice that sanctuary resolutions would be “confusing” for local officials, explaining that “making it a state policy to not enforce federal gun laws is going to compromise public safety and leave state and local officials confused about what they are allowed to do to help with the enforcement of federal gun laws.”
Even though Ms. Shearer isn’t giving local officials enough credit, compared to some of her other statements, she is almost being kind.
There has been very little of the usual wailing and gnashing of teeth over this nationwide trend from Giffords and other anti-gun groups, which could indicate they realize the scope of what they’re up against – nearly half of the country now supports the sanctuary movement.
Some cable TV news actors have referred to Second Amendment sanctuaries as symbolic, in what can be seen as an attempt to downplay or trivialize the movement. When a half of the country supports an issue – any issue – there’s nothing symbolic about it.
If the media needs to come up with a label for the Second Amendment sanctuary movement, call it a warning – a stern warning – for federal officials, especially the elected ones.
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This story is part of the Second Amendment Foundation’s Investigative Journalism Project, and used here with their permission.