ADEL, Iowa — The Dallas County Supervisors unanimously approved a resolution Tuesday that declared the county a Second Amendment “sanctuary” and promised to oppose efforts to “infringe upon” the “natural right of the people” to “keep and bear arms.”
The language of the resolution, which was proposed to the board by John Strathman of Adel, was drawn from an Iowa Firearms Coalition (IFC) template and mirrors resolutions approved in 20 other Iowa counties.
“This effort has been a grassroots effort, coming up from citizens tired of seeing our right to keep and bear arms under continuous assault,” Strathman said. He said 182 bills have been introduced in the Iowa legislature since 2015 “that would in some way regulate firearms and ammunition.”
The all-Republican Dallas County Board of Supervisors — Kim Chapman of Adel, Brad Golightly of rural Perry and Mark Hanson of Waukee — approved the resolution without discussion.
Dallas County Attorney Chuck Sinnard and Dallas County Sheriff Chad Leonard, also Republicans, were present for the board’s vote but offered no comments on the measure. Most legal experts believe such pro-gun sanctuary laws are symbolic and without legal force.
Dave Funk, president of the IFC, said he is “hopeful Gov. Kim Reynolds will soon make the whole state a Second Amendment Sanctuary by issuing a proclamation.”
Strathman’s version of the sanctuary resolution, which the supervisors approved, omitted a clause found in the IFC’s model resolution:
WHEREAS, legislation is currently being considered and expected to be proposed by both the Iowa State Legislature and Federal Legislature that potentially seeks to infringe on the constitutionally protected right of citizens to keep and bear arms.
Darrell Miller, co-director of the Duke Center for Firearms Law, said the Second Amendment sanctuary movement is popular in rural communities, where some people “have a deep-seated fear that universal firearm confiscation is just around the corner.”
As of Oct. 5, Iowa’s other sanctuary counties include Adams, Buchanan, Carroll, Cedar, Chickasaw, Clarke, Guthrie, Hardin, Humboldt, Jasper, Kossuth, Madison, Mills, Mitchell, Pocahontas, Ringgold, Van Buren, Washington, Wayne and Winnebago.
For many years, the “sanctuary” label was applied almost exclusively to states and localities that limited their enforcement of federal immigration laws, according to Rick Su, University of North Carolina law professor. More recently, gun-rights advocates have seized upon the label in their effort to designate firearms “sanctuaries.”
The Iowa Firearms Coalition, based in Moville, Iowa, is an affiliate of the National Rifle Association. The 501(c4) nonprofit corporation describes itself as “Iowa’s only effective gun rights organization.”