Count state Rep. Josh Heintzeman, R-Nisswa, in on a burgeoning movement to establish Minnesota counties as Second Amendment sanctuaries.

During an interview Sunday, Feb. 23, Heintzeman said he’s drafting a letter to the Crow Wing County Board to support establishing the county as a sanctuary for gun rights protections. If commissioners vote to approve a resolution to that effect, Crow Wing County would join a handful of counties, including Roseau, Wadena, Marshall and Clearwater, that have enacted sanctuary status earlier this month.

In a Facebook post Saturday, Heintzeman said his support for Crow Wing County’s possible sanctuary status was due, in part, by the introduction of two laws by House DFLers. The first, House File 8, would require background checks for firearms transfers and the second, House File 9, would enable family members and law enforcement to petition a court to prohibit individuals from possessing firearms if they pose a significant danger to themselves or others by possessing a firearm.

In his Facebook post, Heintzeman described these bills as laws that would “trample on the 2nd Amendment rights of law-abiding Minnesotans and make a mockery of our right to due process.”

Prior resolutions noted a sanctuary would reaffirm Second Amendment rights for all citizens, “except those prohibited by current law,” nor would it undermine the authority of a county sheriff or county attorney to enforce those laws.

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Heintzeman said Crow Wing County commissioners are entitled to interpret his letter and the issue as they see fit, but noted it would be dangerous for county lawmakers to oppose sanctuary status, thereby placing themselves against public opinion and possibly losing their seats in the process.

“I've obviously had lots of interactions with people in this county,” Heintzeman said. “And I also can see, there has been some polling on this issue as well. So, it’s pretty, pretty dangerous, too. If you're in a county like Crow Wing, you're certainly taking a chance. If the public views this as a anti-Second Amendment vote, if they (commissioners) were to vote against the ordinance, the public could very easily interpret that way.”

As reported by Forum News Service, in Roseau County the one dissenting vote, Commissioner Jim Hofer, said that resolution would pit counties against state and federal laws. Others — including some on Heintzeman’s Facebook page — said they consider Second Amendment sanctuaries redundant and unnecessary, as explicit protections for guns rights are already enshrined in the U.S. Constitution.

For his part, Heintzeman said his support for establishing Crow Wing County as a Second Amendment sanctuary is, in part, to establish protections against encroachment by a possible leftward swing in state Legislatures, such as the Minnesota House and Senate, in coming years.

GABRIEL LAGARDE may be reached at gabe.lagarde@brainerddispatch.com or 218-855-5859. Follow at www.twitter.com/glbrddispatch.