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Livingston County Board of Commissioners want a sanctuary from sanity

When it comes to bluster, bumbling, and buffoonery, it’s hard to top the Livingston County Board of Commissioners.

The nine-member, all-male, all-Republican governing body is poised to declare Livingston a “constitutional county” and reaffirm its status as a 2A – as in Second Amendment – sanctuary.

Their actions are meaningless posturing, but that won’t prevent them from strutting like peacocks. Well, perhaps not like peacocks whose plumage may be too colorful for their hoary nature. They certainly don’t want to give the impression that they might be tolerant of rainbow coalitions.

Nonetheless, they’ve achieved their goal, garnering plenty of attention from news media and sufficiently ruffling the feathers of local Democrats.

The commissioners are reacting to gun-safety legislation passed by the Democratically-controlled Michigan legislature and supported by their nemesis, Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. The laws would expand background checks for gun purchases, require safe storage of guns in homes, and enact so-called red flag laws that could, in extreme cases, remove firearms from someone considered dangerous.

Sheriff Mike Murphy has already said he won’t enforce these laws, which is even more showmanship because – as state Attorney General Dana Nessel, also a Democrat, has stated – sheriffs already have the discretion to decide when and if laws have been broken.

Murphy is a genial guy, but he is disingenuous when he avers that, in reference to the red-flag laws, he can’t countenance enforcing unconstitutional measures. This, remember, is the same guy who investigated and turned over to the prosecutor a case in which a local resident was clearly guilty of expressing her opinions on social media

Hey, no one ever said we were a 1A sanctuary.

Nonetheless, the dust-up over the red-flag law is all for show. On paper, there may be concerns that an over-reaching government – or nefarious private citizens – could abuse the law to settle grievances or pester political foes. Such fears are based more on paranoid theory than reality.

Michigan would join about 20 other states that already have red-flag laws, including Republican-controlled Indiana and Florida. Most of those states limit those who can petition the courts to law enforcement officials. A few, like Michigan, also allow family members to initiate proceedings.

But the bar is high, and rightly so. If petitioned, courts can issue an order to temporarily remove a gun if it “determines by the preponderance of the evidence” that an individual “can reasonably be expected within the near future to intentionally or unintentionally seriously physically injure” themselves or others “and has engaged in an act or acts or made significant threats that are substantially supportive of the expectation.”

Such wording makes it unlikely that action will ever be sought, much less successfully. What should be discussed is whether the legislation is at all effective. A judge in Florida, who supports his state’s red-flag law, admits that it is virtually impossible to document crimes that didn’t happen.

Meanwhile, the commissioners’ lock-and-load mentality comes at a time when, during a span of four days, there were three separate incidents of gun-toting assailants shooting first and never asking questions.

One young woman, a passenger in a car that pulled into the wrong driveway, was killed in rural upstate New York. A high school teenager, the son of Liberian immigrants in Kansas City, Missouri, miraculously escaped death when he was shot in the head after mistakenly ringing the wrong doorbell. Two high school cheerleaders in Texas, were shot when one mistakenly tried to open the door of the wrong car.

In each case, not only was there no threat, there was not even a single word exchanged between the shooter and his victims. The cheerleader was actually rolling down her car window to apologize when the occupant of the other car opened fire.

In Kansas City, the 84-year-old male shooter said he was frightened by the size of the youngster – whom he described as six-feet tall but who is actually four inches shorter. The police chief says more likely it was the young man’s skin color that prompted the old man’s fear.

In all those cases, it is easy to imagine the spirits of our county commissioners standing behind the shooters, whispering confidently, “Go ahead and shoot. It’s your Second Amendment right.

Such is life in a sanctuary.

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