DUNCAN — Stephens County may soon be a “Second Amendment Sanctuary County” following the sheriff’s declaration of intent to approach the County Board of Commissioners for its establishment.
Stephens County Sheriff Wayne McKinney posted the declaration to the department’s Facebook page Thursday morning announcing the designation proposal. In it, he declares the office’s “intent to oppose any and all infringement on the rights and liberties of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms” through any legal means to include court action.
McKinney told The Constitution it’s a preemptive way of establishing a position if rumors about potential changes to state and/or federal law regarding firearms come true.
“This has nothing to do about the laws we have, it has to do with the confiscation of firearms from legal law-abiding citizens,” he said. “I’m making a statement that I will not participate with that. Not that anything’s in the mill, it’s just that legislators have started talking about that.”
McKinney said he’s among other sheriffs across the state who have taken similar steps. He said the sanctuary idea followed another state’s issues in January regarding gun law proposals.
“This has nothing to do about the laws we have,” he said. “It has to do with the confiscation of firearms from legal, law-abiding citizens.”
Concerns about the recent push in Virginia for new gun control laws attracted a backlash by gun rights supporters. The majority of Virginia counties have since declared themselves “Second Amendment Sanctuaries” that won’t enforce laws they claim are unconstitutional.
The proposals under consideration in Virginia included the following proposals, according to Vox:
•Universal background checks for all sales, including private transactions;
•Limiting handgun purchases to one purchase per 30-day period; a law repealed in Virginia in 2012;
•A “red flag” law allowing courts and law enforcement to temporarily seize a person’s guns if determined to be a danger to himself or others;
•Allowing local governments to ban guns in public spaces during permitted events;
•A ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines;
•Requiring lost and stolen guns to be reported to law enforcement;
•A prohibition on people under protective orders from owning guns;
•Stiffer penalties allowing children access to loaded, unsecured guns.
Most of these mirror gun control positions passed by the U.S. House of Representatives that have not been taken up by the U.S. Senate.
In Oklahoma, there aren’t many proposals in the state Legislature regarding restraining gun owner rights. The law allowing the open and concealed carry of handguns by permit holders took effect in November 2012.
In February 2019, Gov. Kevin Stitt signed a bill making it legal for most Oklahomans aged 21 and older to carry a gun without a license. Oklahoma joined more than a dozen states that allow eligible adults to carry firearms without taking a safety course or paying licensing fees. Also, people don’t have to undergo the current background check state law enforcement perform when applying for a license.
Active military, veterans, and reserve military, 18 and over, may also carry without a permit.
McKinney said the proposal will hopefully “get ahead of the thing” in case political winds change direction one day. He said this declaration is not an act of rebellion against federal and state laws regarding possession and use of automatic weapons or suppressors, etc. — “Those are laws we can all live with” — but to combat the fears of “jack-booted thugs” coming through your door to take your firearms.
“Not that this would ever happen in Oklahoma,” McKinney said, “but you just don’t know.”
The proposal is not on the agenda of the next Stephens County Commissioner’s meeting at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday in the commissioners’ board room at the Stephens County Courthouse. It could be included in new business, however.