Second Amendment sanctuary (SAS), also known as a gun sanctuary, is a state, county or locality in the United States that has adopted laws or resolutions that oppose, or purport to prohibit or impede, the enforcement of certain gun control measures.
These laws have the aroma of nullification.
Nullifucation first appears in my history books after the passage of the Alienation and Sedition Acts of 1789. The principle of Judicial Review by the courts of acts of congress would probably boot such measures today but that principle was not established until 1803. At the time some states acted. Virginia passed a resolution denouncing the measures as unconstitutional while staking out a case for states rights that undermined the constitutional order, a recipe for disunion.
The Alienation and Sedition Acts died but the theory of state nullification of federal legislation lived on. It brought on a crisis during the Andrew Jackson administration over tariffs. The state legislature of South Carolina proclaimed that states had the right to unilaterally nullify federal laws they deemed to be unconstitutional. Under their understanding, in order for federal legislation to survive it would have to be supported (or at least not actively opposed) by a majority of every state legislature.
It is a bit ironic that James Madison who was one of the authors of the Virginia resolutions opposing the alienation and sedition acts came out strongly against nullification 30 years later. Writing that such a doctrine would “put powder under the constitution and the union, and a match in the hands of every party to blow them up at pleasure“. It would “convert the federal government into a mere league which would quickly throw the states back into a chaos out of which not order, a second time, but lasting disorder of the worst kind, could not fail to grow.”
James Madison was a man of many words.
Second Amendment sanctuary doesn’t offer the threat of disunion that James Madison described. Mostly because the certain gun control measures exist only in the imagination in the cold dead minds of supporters of SAS measures. Every January that a Democratic president is inaugurated firearm sales peak as cold dead grey cells fire up. This, despite the fact that no gun control legislation has been enacted or even considered by Congress since the Reagan administration.
The thought behind SAS, however, is a recipe for disunion. Our national and state constitutions, statutory laws, Court rulings and common-law customs create a long established stable method of deciding what will be the laws, how they will be enforced and how elections shall be conducted and decided. More and more it seems in these days that legislators and the people they represent are eager to disrespect and disregard the decisions these established methods of deciding make, when those individuals are disappointed. Going beyond the exercise of the right to petition for redress of grievance. Even to the extreme of insurrection.
The BLM a street marches are symptoms of this. More threatening are the SAS measures, the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol, the continuing clamor to overturn the election our president and this spring’s added vote suppression measures.
Should they be successful, the disappointed are putting powder under the constitution and the union, and a match in the hands of every party to blow them up at pleasure. Prevailing, they would convert the federal government into a mere league which would quickly throw the states back into a chaos out of which not order, but lasting disorder of the worst kind, could not fail to grow. A recipe for disunion.