The Wasatch County Council has formed a committee to discuss whether the county should become a “sanctuary county” for the Second Amendment.
While all council members state support for the constitutional right of individuals to keep and bear arms, not everyone thinks the county needs an ordinance to do that.
At a meeting in July, a motion to have the county attorney’s office prepare a resolution or ordinance to make Wasatch County a Second Amendment sanctuary county failed, but at a recent work session, council member Kendall Crittenden said he is following up on requests from residents to do this – like Utah and Uintah counties have already done – in spite of the criticism.
“It's an idea that was brought forth from some people, some citizens in the community, that have every right to ask for something like this as those that disagree with it,” Crittenden said. “But those are asking for are not caustic or divisive. They're just saying we think this is an important thing that we need to make this statement. But we get things like ‘this is asinine’ taken from an email. Vote no on this ill-informed resolution and I've heard a lot of craziness but this I think takes the cake. And of course, always, always, the comment when people are disagreeing with what the council might be doing is ‘this smack of overreach in the bathroom dealing. Gee, if you're doing something, I'm against, you must be getting paid off somewhere - there must be some backroom deal going on’
Crittenden will be joined on the committee by a few citizens who are in favor of such an ordinance as well as council members Marilyn Crittenden and Mark Nelson.
Nelson says while he supports the Second Amendment, he doesn’t support a sanctuary ordinance for the county.
“After reading all the emails and considering it and talking to others about it – and you know – this is – it is a very divisive issue,” Nelson said. “And I think for myself, as a supporter of the Second Amendment, I think this is unnecessary. I’ve thought about it quite a bit, but I still think at this time, it's unnecessary and will hurt more than it helps.”
Wasatch County Manager Mike Davis says he’s willing to let the process play out.
“I think there's a lot of discussion left as to whether it really is needed or not,” Davis said. “I think there's a lot of support in both directions. There is certainly some opposition to anything and so it’s a pretty divisive discussion in some ways. But it'll be interesting to go through the process and let it play out.”
As for what it means to be a sanctuary county, Davis thinks that’s still to be determined.
“That’s part of the question I believe that some of the council members have – is not sure that that's a necessary item even if they support the Second Amendment as they do.”
Crittenden expects to have the issue before the full council in late September or early October for a vote. He says he doesn’t prefer a resolution or an ordinance. Resolutions can act as a statement; an ordinance would actually change county code - which could potentially put the county in opposition with federal law. County Attorney Scott Sweat says he’ll prepare whatever the council decides, but he prefers a resolution over an ordinance.