On February 20, 2020, the Eaton County Board of Commissioners passed a resolution to uphold the U.S. and State Constitutions regarding the right to bear arms.

Statement of the County Commission

Eaton County Board Passes Resolution Protecting Second Amendment

In response to a request from a constituent, the Eaton County Board of Commissioners passed a symbolic resolution protecting the Second Amendment rights for the citizens of the county. The resolution that was passed states “consistent with the oath of office taken by all public officers, the Eaton County Board of Commissioners supports the constitutional right of the people to keep and bear arms and opposes any illegal seizure of firearms.” This resolution was a compromise resolution proposed by District One Democratic Commissioner Rob Piercefield. Commissioner Piercefield didn’t feel the original resolution would pass at the full board, in part due to a legal opinion that was provided to the commissioners by the county’s attorney prior to Wednesday’s board meeting.

The county’s attorney stated that the original draft “sanctuary” resolution “contains proclamations that exceed the Board’s statutory authority” and the attorney would “recommend that the County Board not adopt this Resolution”. The opinion goes on to state that the proposal to declare Eaton County a “sanctuary county” has no legal definition under state statute and that the county does not legally have the power to declare itself a “sanctuary county”. Board members indicated that the sanctuary language had already created confusion amongst residents in Eaton County and that such language devoid of legal meaning was not necessary to state its support for the state and US constitution (specifically the second amendment rights of citizens). Even those who supported the original sanctuary resolution admitted that the passage of any such resolution would simply be a political statement and nothing that “had any teeth” or legal meaning.

While some of the residents in the board room stated that they were opposed to changing any of the language within the original resolution, despite the attorney’s legal opinion, there were others who were concerned with the legality of creating a so-called “sanctuary county”. Many who voted for the resolution are gun owners who indicated their support for the second amendment, but felt that suggesting that the Sheriff or Prosecutor not follow a validly passed Federal or State law would be problematic.

The amended resolution was passed by a 9-6 majority vote, with all Democrats voting to support the constitutional right of the people to keep and bear arms and all six of the Republicans voting against the resolution. This is the first completely partisan vote taken since the Democrats regained the majority on the County Board in January 2019. Eaton County joins multiple counties throughout the state of Michigan who have passed similar resolutions aimed at protecting citizens right to keep and bear arms as guaranteed under the Michigan and US Constitution.The Eaton County Board of Commissioners voted on the resolution at their meeting Wednesday night.

The passed resolution language is posted here.

The original resolution language is posted here.