Merrill to consider motion declaring itself a Second Amendment sanctuary city

Photo of Merrill City Hall, undated (WSAW Photo)
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MERRILL, Wis. (WSAW) -- The city of Merrill will consider declaring itself a Second Amendment sanctuary city at its next council meeting on January 14, according to the agenda posted to its website.

The resolution, which the agenda stated is being introduced by alderperson Steve Osness, would declare the city a 'sanctuary' for Second Amendment rights, citing economic benefit to the city as well as the right to keep and bear arms. The resolution additionally affirms 'support of the Merrill Police Department to exercise sound discretion to not enforce against any citizen any unconstitutional firearms laws', as well as an affirmation not to direct funds towards 'unconstitutional laws'.

In Wisconsin, similar motions are gaining popularity after Florence County declared itself a Second Amendment sanctuary last November; Brown County is also considering a similar resolution. Merrill would be the third local government and first city to officially consider the motion in Wisconsin in the past few months. In Virginia, the largely symbolic gesture has gained traction in more than 100 local governments.

"What's going on right now, you hear a lot about other gun laws that politicians are bringing up, and infringing on the Second Amendment. So basically I brought it up to protect our constitutional rights," Osness noted.

Democrat governor Tony Evers introduced red flag gun legislation last fall, which failed to garner any support in the Republican-controlled state legislature.

Osness acknowledged that the motion "to a point" would be legally unenforceable, as experts around the country have noted, but believes that being proactive in resolutions like this could help change that in the future.

Osness added that he won't know until the council goes into session whether he can expect support from the full city council next Tuesday, but that he is bringing it straight to council rather than to committee first in order to speed up the process.