Guns And Protests

The pandemic, the economy and the Black Lives Matter Protests have dominated news coverage the past few months, joined by politics as the Presidential campaigns begin in earnest–but although long-simmering public policy debates have received less attention, that doesn’t mean those issues have gone away.

Which brings me to one of America’s longest, nastiest and most intractable standoffs: guns.

In January, Bartholomew County, Indiana’s gun rights activists asked that county’s commissioners to declare Bartholomew County a Second Amendment “sanctuary.” According to The Republic, the local newspaper, 

The group, called the Bartholomew County Indiana 2A United Sanctuary, has sent a draft of a proposed ordinance to the Bartholomew County commissioners, Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department and Columbus Mayor Jim Lienhoop, said Chris Imel of Ladoga in Montgomery County. Imel is the group’s organizer and a former Bartholomew County deputy coroner, serving in 2017.

As of mid-afternoon Tuesday, the private social media group had 4,471 members on Facebook. Imel said he created the Facebook page a week ago.

The group believes the “sanctuary” is necessary to prevent the enforcement of certain gun control measures that–in their opinions– violate the Second Amendment.

The measures that they assert “violate the 2d Amendment” include emergency protection orders, enforcement of gun background checks, and Red Flag laws. (Indiana’s Red Flag law allows authorities to disarm people who pose a danger to themselves or others; such laws typically include due process provisions allowing gun owners to retrieve their weapons through the courts if they can demonstrate they are mentally competent.)

The Bartholomew County Indiana 2A United Sanctuary group claims the proposed ordinance would allow local officials to “refuse to cooperate with state and federal firearm laws” perceived to violate the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, including any future proposed restrictions on clip capacity, silencers, bump stocks, bayonet mounts, among other items, according to the proposed ordinance.

In other words, the desired “Sanctuary” would direct law enforcement in the county to ignore pretty much any state law limiting firearms in any way. (It did make an exception for federal law.)

The Bartholomew gun group  is not, unfortunately, just an isolated group of rural Hoosiers who don’t understand how laws work. They have lots of company.

As of Jan. 7, more than 418 counties, cities and towns in 21 states have passed Second Amendment sanctuary ordinances, including locations in Illinois, Colorado, New Mexico, Washington and Virginia, according to Gun Owners of America, a gun-rights group.

On Friday night, Jennings County officials signed a resolution stating the county is now a Second Amendment sanctuary. There is no indication that the resolution signed in Jennings County was approved by any county or city councils or boards before it was signed by the sheriff and others, including Rep. Jim Lucas, R-Seymour.

If the sweep of this “Wild West” movement isn’t unsettling enough, the Brookings Institution recently issued a report titled “How Covid-19 is Changing the Gun Debate.

Starting in mid-April, anti-COVID-19 lockdown protestors stormed and shut down everything from statehouses to Subway restaurants with assault weapons and pipe wrenches. These protests are being framed around gun rights and free speech issues. Protests are allegedly about fully re-opening the economy following state-sanctioned shutdowns. Protestors appear to perceive that quarantine measures to keep them safe and reduce the spread of COVID-19 are violations of their civil liberties. In turn, they act out their frustrations through expressions of their 1st and 2nd Amendment rights. Anti-lockdown protests have now occurred in 31 states across the country and gun sales surged to nearly 2 million in March.

Not only have gun sales surged, but according to the report, they’ve surged in liberal states–despite the fact that the armed lockdown protestors are clearly Trump supporters. The researchers were unable to tell whether this data represents purchases by liberals (arming to protect themselves in the upcoming civil war?) or by conservatives living in liberal states (adding to their burgeoning armories?)

America is currently experiencing the simultaneous effects of the worst aspects of our cultural history: deeply-ingrained racism, an inadequate social safety net, a radical individualism that disdains even the slightest appeal to the common good, and the celebration of anti-intellectualism.

The racist and anti-intellectual elements gave us Trump–and his heavily-armed base.


  1. I have posted this before but it is most appropriate on the blog today. Near the end of President Obama’s 2nd term in office he was visiting his home city of Chicago and speaking to a crowd. During the Q&A session someone asked his views on the extremely high murder rate in Chicago that year; his response was, “More than 50% of the guns confiscated in all crimes in Chicago were found to have been purchased in Indiana due to their lax gun control laws.”

    The entire state of Indiana is apparently a sanctuary for gun enthusiasts and NRA supporters; in Indianapolis the murder rate again this year is already rivaling previous historic numbers of gun victims. Don’t bother spouting the “Murder By Death” using other weapons, we are discussing guns at this time and we are not trying to prevent anyone from buying a handgun for protection of home and life. No one from any government is going to kick in your door and confiscate your guns; that would be breaking local laws as well as denying you your 2nd Amendment right, misunderstood as it may be at this time.

    The gun tottin’, NRA enthusiasts, those who feel the need to carry military level weapons for self-protection (from what invading army?) or to prove some unknown point, such as their masculinity, remind me of those patients gorging massive amounts of food on the TV program “My 600 Pound Life”. Their obsession with food is not unlike the obsession with guns and both are life-threatening.

    “The racist and anti-intellectual elements gave us Trump–and his heavily-armed base.”

  2. The key statements in this blog have to do with gun sales. The promotion of fear and white grievance by gun manufacturing lobbies, including the totally whore-like NRA, have created this false narrative and perverted understanding of the Second Amendment.

    Clinging to an unnecessary part of the Constitution written to appease slave holders and to keep a potential army available to repel attacks from Great Britain is the result of our culture that allowed European “settlers” to abrogate the rights of all other humans on the continent, i.e., the aboriginal peoples. Today, it’s links to fear of… well, anything, added to the inherent racism of the original intent of the Second Amendment continues to keep us from moving forward as a more civilized nation.

    Those who really don’t believe in civilization haven’t moved, intellectually, from neolithic thinking. This “THING” with guns is yet another embarrassment we present to the world. And please do not accuse these scared spitless wretches of being conservatives. They are right-wing, extremist reactionaries who look under their beds at night for the next bogeymen.

    So, how do we alter that thinking? My tiny brain has no idea how those inherent, taught and on-going mindless fears can be reversed. Any suggestions?

  3. The “Wild West” was not the scene of gunfights on Main Street. Tombstone, Arizona, and Dodge City, Kansas, had strict laws against “open carry” of handguns. The earliest restrictions on handguns were in the Deep South where duels were too frequent. The (Russian-funded) NRA has been successful in re-branding the Second Amendment has protecting an individual rights to firearms. That is a relatively recent development. Previously, the courts construed the Second Amendment to mean it established arms for militias. Unfortunately, people with little understanding of the law (e.g., the “gun guy” on WIBC) spew forth their views to eager people who seek to stockpile arms.

  4. I seriously doubt that all (or even most) of those new weapons have been sold to new gun owners. I wonder if the number of guns per capita is higher for the US military or for the right winged radical nutcases? My money is on the nutcases.

    Down here in good old sunny southwest Florida, I got a text asking what my greatest concern was going into election 2020. I replied that it seemed the rule of law and the protection of the Constitution were paramount. The candidate responded that she believed in Red Flag laws, but would do whatever she could to protect my Second Amendment rights. Maybe we need a repeat of what caused Reagan to ban assault weapons. Let’s arm the Black Panthers again. I know they’re all in their seventies and eighties now and probably not particularly threatening, but how threatening was Tamir Rice?

  5. Well, Vernon dropped the proverbial bomb. 😉

    My remaining conservative friends told me that if “liberals come looting near their house, they’ll have a surprise waiting for them.”

    As a gun-carrying progressive, I assured them they had nothing worth stealing.

    I just want to know where the photos and videos are of armed black panthers. That always elevates the “fear factor” of white America.

    As a result of my writing, I’ve been threatened by numerous conservatives and “liberals” alike. Should I call the police if I feel threatened?

    My writing has offended the police, so do you think they will give a shit about my discomfort?

    I’ve provided emails where people have said they have a “bead on me” and could “end my misery with one shot.” The police told me it was startling, but unless a crime was committed, there was nothing they could do. #Gotcha

    I also ride my motorcycle throughout Indiana’s back roads, where some of the most backward Hoosiers reside. Not carrying a gun for self-protection is the fool’s path.

    A sage once told me, “the police don’t prevent crimes–they investigate them.”

    When I’m calling for defunding of the police, and you live in a very corrupt environment where the police are participants, who exactly do you rely on for protection?

    I am far from fearful…it’s more like a realist.

  6. Peggy,

    Thanks for corroborating everyone’s points. As many of us have joked before, give every black man in the country an AR-15, and every legislature in sight will have gun laws on the books next day.

    In Texas, almost all the guns are owned by about 30% of the white population. Black gun registrations show about 7%. Another trope exploded.

    There are more guns in private “ownership” in the United States than there are men, women and children. To your point, something like 75% of the guns are “owned” by 25% of the people, yet another confirmation that most social problems are caused by the distinct minority. Give them a gun with unlimited restrictions and you have Goober Nation showing up at state capitols armed to the teeth.

  7. A sanctuary for the decontextualized Second Amendment here in Indiana? Will school districts and libraries in decontextualized Second Amendment sanctuaries then be required to use redacted textbooks and any literature that interprets historical intent of The Constitution? Will civic teachers be authorized to encourage open debate in the classroom? It would be interesting to track economic growth and appreciation of property values of decontextualized Second Amendment sanctuaries over time compared to surrounding counties and municipalities outside the sanctuary. It would also be interesting to track high school graduation and college entrance rates compared to non-sanctuary rural counties. Then families can make an informed decision where they choose to raise their children to be able to thrive in the 21st Century.

  8. Gun culture is part of the US “Culture of Death”. We are fine we lost lives.

    120,000 dead from Covid19, is OK as long as I am allowed to eat at my Cracker Barrel. Who cares about how many of those black people shoot themselves? So we lost a few.

    The propaganda about guns is some losses are OK, as long as my 2nd amendment rights are upheld, because my guns are keeping me safe. I don’t know why life and home insurance policies don’t ask if you own a gun and raise premiums accordingly, because like commuting to work on a motorcycle, your risks go up significantly to you and your family that someone will die or be injured from the gun you bought to protect your 2nd amendment rights.

    Don’t even try to have a conversation with a NRA supporter. In one online debate where a friend posted a picture of “Armed Rednecks” with assault rifles volunteering to defend businesses from looters, it quickly spun out of control. I was corrected and told there was no such thing as an assault rifles, they are “Military style sporting weapons”. When I said I have never heard of needing 17 shots to kill a deer, I was told you need that firepower hunting wild boar. When I pointed out that the implied intimidation factor of RedNecks with guns was just one step away from Klansmen in white White Robes, they said NO, these Americans are standing up for their second amendment rights. When I ask if you were there, would you be willing to murder a person, because If forced, unless you are willing to murder someone, all you have is big club. At that point one of them unfriended me because I he thought I accused him of supporting murder. I did, and it was uncomfortable for him, so why not just ignore the truth.

  9. Hey in my post, this is sarcasm:

    “120,000 dead from Covid19, is OK as long as I am allowed to eat at my Cracker Barrel. Who cares about how many of those black people shoot themselves? So we lost a few.”

  10. One source of the chaos that the country has descended into seems innocuous enough but is just a tool that can be used for either good or evil: advertising, or using it’s more accurate descriptor, propaganda on entertainment media.

    It’s a means of manipulation whether the outcome desired is each of us buying the same brand of soap or voting for an incompetent, corrupt President or selling machines designed as offensive weapons optimized to kill from a very long distance.

    Of course it’s not at all illegal thanks to a Constitutional Amendment formulated long before advertising became pervasive and virtually brainwashing.

    Addressing this dilemma has to be a very high priority for the next administration because if it’s not we will see a repeat of this chaos.

  11. Ho-hum, another day, another peg pulled out of the Jenga stack.

    How many pegs can be removed before the whole stack collapses?

    All these wing nuts have done as hijacked sanctuary cities from immigrant protection to the wild West how big is your gun show!

    Basically, they said to everyone, “will show you” we can have our sanctuary cities too.

    I know for a fact that there are plenty of people who say one thing and do the opposite, but more and more are definitely not worried about opinions anymore.

    Opinion is really the lowest form of human knowledge.
    it requires no accountability,
    no understanding.

    The highest form of knowledge is empathy,
    for it requires us to spend our egos,
    and to live in another’s world. (Unknown author)

    So, having lived in more than one ethnic Fifedom, I can guarantee that they both have faults, but one is entitled and because of that entitlement live in a constant state of grievance!

    And, that aggrieved state leads to hatred through cowardice and fear! On top of all of that, return to American manifest destiny, basically, the white wealthy having the only rights, everyone else is on the lower caste. And enforce those rights by the whip and or gun.

  12. Dan,

    We kill each other with guns to the tune of 30,000 – 40,000 per year. Even with seat belts and speed limits, we kill that many in traffic “accidents”. Remember the big fight about seat belts and child seats?

    It’s the same neolithic “thinking” associated with anti-vaccine groups. I wonder how they or their parents feel about not contracting polio, small pox or a host of other things that kill people. If you want to visit equatorial Africa or South America, you need vaccinations against a variety of the usual suspects in tropical diseases. Ask them how they’d do from the ague of dengue fever or malaria or yellow fever or diphtheria, etc. Never mind. They’ll just go out and buy another gun.

  13. I have been following this movement in IN as well. Moms Demand Action has done a great job of standing up to these groups by showing up to local government meetings where the policies are discussed.

    Also, we need to be clear about whether local governments are passing ordinances (law) or Resolutions (non-binding guidance).

  14. The Supreme Court correctly decided in 1939 (since changed) that the Second Amendment meant what it said in re “a well armed militia.” I had no idea that everyone has since joined the militia. I haven’t.

  15. I have a question that to my knowledge has never been answered. If I sell a gun to someone who is not supposed to own a gun, and he goes out and murders someone else, I will be held partly responsible for the crime. Now, if a clerk at a gun store sells a weapon to someone who goes out and murders someone, will that clerk be partly responsible? Don’t raise the point about background checks. They are irrelevant. You can pass a background check and still kill someone. I wonder if a gun shop clerk can sleep at night if he knows a gun he sold was used in a murder.

  16. You cannot make this up. Satire writers or political cartoonists cannot compete with The Trumpet. What we are witnessing is The Trumpet unhinged, off the rails or whatever. It is amazing that no matter how far The Trumpet pushes the bounds of sanity, the GOP will quickly fall in line behind The Trumpet.

    President Donald Trump bragged about being “perfect” during a Fox News appearance that was broadcast on Thursday evening.

    “I think I am the probably — a friend of mine said, ‘you have to be the most perfect person.’ Isn’t that true?” Trump asked.

    Fox News anchor Sean Hannity then cut to a commercial break.

    This is off subject I know.

  17. The idea that the 2nd Amendment is absolute is bogus.

    The First Amendment: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    The First Amendment promises rights. We do have laws against libel and slander. We have laws that control “free speech” such as Truth in Lending, Truth in Advertising, etc.

    You can peacefully assemble. You cannot block interstate highways, unless you want to be arrested. Most towns now a days require a parade permit.

    Sub-Machine guns and various types of assault weapons (automatic or semi-automatic were invented for one purpose for the military. The military uses these weapons to kill other human beings. These types of weapons were not designed for hunting animals.

  18. “But his soul was mad. Being alone in the wilderness, it had looked within itself and, by heavens I tell you, it had gone mad.” — Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness

  19. So, if multiple levels of governments (cities, states, etc.) ignore UNARMED mobs tearing down/defacing public property and/or destroying/burning/looting private property, what will they do when his “2nd Amendment People” come out after he declares his loss in November as “rigged”??

    The rule of law is the rule of law – no more.

  20. LOL, Mike Pence is blowing so much smoke out of his backside he could send smoke signals! He’s on right now, what a rube.

  21. Pascal,
    I wrote this earlier on another blog, and, their conscience doesn’t bother them! Not one iota.

    “Well, we know what values are, what a particular individual values the most or what society values the most within the parameters of personal life and or society. And of course, attitudes which can affect values for the good or the bad. So, a specific aspect would mean that something of a certain specificity would be driving societal or personal values and attitudes, for good or bad!

    For example, people become willfully deluded into believing that there is no covid-19 pandemic, therefore they have a poor attitude about social distancing and wearing masks. Their personal value system (so-called personal freedom) lets them shrug off their conscience in regards to their concern for their fellow man! Either racially, ethnically, socially, religiously, credos, bigotries, prejudices, and the like, all have an impact on a person’s value system concerning the societal construct.

    And of course the willingness to burn it all down because of willfully deluded ignorance along with selfishness, which of course overrides common sense, and or the common good! And, putting one’s personal opinion (self) above ethics and compassion.”

  22. Now we are addressing the essence of antiracists policies. Red Flag Laws address the issue of gun violence. As a consequence the gun is removed from the potential source of death. This is a policy that brings safety to our citizens. That is what Gun Violence Prevention (GVP) is all about. Thanks you Sheila for bringing us to this point. Policy changes save lives.

  23. Did you know that there is a Facebook page for each county in Indiana with second amendment extremists? Several counties have already become 2a Sanctuary Counties or have Second Amendment Resolutions. Check out the “Indiana 2a United” Facebook Page that is public. Most county 2a pages are private. The second amendment resolution that most counties have passed was written by second amendment attorney Guy A. Relford, who has formed his own non-profit group called The 2a Project, which advertises his gun safety book, classes on gun training and gun laws, legal services, 2a Project merchandise, and his gun talk show host. Not sure how it qualifies for non-profit. Many sheriffs belong to these groups and believe that Indiana’s Jake Laird Law (Red Flag Law/ERPO Law) is unconstitutional and advise their deputies to NOT use this law or take guns away from people because of their God-Given Second Amendment Right -even if a person is at risk of harming themselves or others. Red Flag Laws save lives by removing lethal means when a person is struggling with suicidal ideation or at risk of harming others – It is not true that a person will keep trying to die by suicide and the method does not matter – guns are the most lethal means and 90% of people who attempt suicide do not end up dying by suicide later. We need to make sure that guns are removed from domestic abusers! This year, Jim Lucas and Relford created ” Kystie’s Law”. Rather than addressing well-documented problems created by Stand Your Ground Laws, HB 1284 expands Indiana’s Stand Your Ground law by creating new legal hurdles for Hoosiers seeking some measure of justice through the civil justice system – including grievances against police brutality. Indiana seems to encourage vigilantism rather than de-escalation or non-violent crisis intervention. It is very unsettling to discover the large number of Indiana groups on Facebook that promote gun violence and racism – they have Boogaloo, Big Igloo, Luau, and III Percenters, “I Stand”, and Oath Keeper flags and apparel. Indiana has Minute Men ready to protest with the big guns who are itching to show up and be ready for the next civil war or other outlandish conspiracies that tRump urges on and calls them very good people. It is negligent that several sheriffs do not provide training on the Jake Laird Law even though Gov. Holcomb instructed them to do so in a letter dated March 9, 2018, instructing them to use the State Police PowerPoint Training on the Jake Laird Law. All law enforcement should always receive gateway training about suicide prevention and crisis intervention training. Even the National Shooting Sport Foundation, Veterans, and American Foundation for Suicide Prevention are working together to educate gun owners, gun shop owners, veterans, law enforcement, and first responders about the risk of firearms and suicide. These three agencies have free virtual training videos. The momentum of the 2a groups to approach county commissioners and sheriffs to adopt resolutions may have fizzled because of the pandemic, but it will show its presence again when the next session starts, and concerned citizens need to be aware. Many candidates are actually using the second amendment platform as part of their campaign message. Gun violence is a health epidemic. Hoosiers love their guns, and it is difficult to convince many that the focus should be on gun safety and reducing gun violence. Gun safety and the second amendment should go hand in hand. Hopefully, Hoosiers will vote for gun sense candidates in the next election. We will see the effects of the recent surge of gun sales for years to come and need to be proactive and work together to make our communities safer.

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