Petition

Tony Blais, right, presents the Koochiching County Board with a petition asking them to designate the county a "Second Amendment dedicated county."

The Koochiching County Board will revisit a petition submitted February 2020 to make Koochiching County a “Second Amendment dedicated county.”

The board will take public input at a public hearing at 6 p.m. May 11 at Backus Community Center auditorium.

The hearing comes from Feb. 25, 2020, when the board tabled action on a resolution that would designate the county a Second Amendment dedicated county, more commonly known as a Second Amendment “sanctuary county.”

Around that same time, similar resolutions had been adopted by more than 400 communities nationwide, including Roseau County which was the first county in Minnesota to do so, Feb. 11, 2020.

A city or county’s status as Second Amendment dedicated, or sanctuary, maintains that local leaders will oppose new and existing gun control legislation, even though counties and cities may have little control over laws passed at state and national levels.

County Attorney Jeff Naglosky last year cautioned commissioners on stepping outside their role as a board.

“I’m not anti-gun, I’m pro law,” he said during the 2020 hearing. “You have certain authority and responsibility as a county board, but you can’t preempt any state or federal law. Some of the wording in the resolution... I worry oversteps your boundaries as a county board.”

Commissioners agreed more time to consider the resolution was needed, and then COVID-19 came knocking.

The latest push to get the issue back on the agenda was a June 10, 2020, letter and petition from residents Tony Blais and Joe Butera. The said a petition with 420 signatures to designate the county as a Second Amendment dedicated county is now at 640 signatures.