A proposed resolution that would have declared Price County a Second Amendment sanctuary failed to make it beyond the June 12 Law Enforcement Committee meeting.@
Similar resolutions have come before several counties in Wisconsin, passing in some and failing in others. These resolutions — which contain wording supporting the constitutional right of citizens to bear arms and opposing any legislation that would restrict those rights, directly or indirectly, such as additional taxation on firearms or ammunition — are generally considered symbolic and not legally binding.
Some of the resolutions, including the one presented for Price County, also state that no county funds will be spent on enforcing laws or restrictions on firearms deemed unconstitutional and indicate support for the sheriff in not enforcing such laws or restrictions.
Newly elected county supervisor Waldemar Madsen made a motion that the resolution be forwarded to the full county
board for review, but no other committee members seconded the motion. Having failed in committee, the proposed resolution will not be pursued further at this time.
The law enforcement committee, composed of chair Jim Hintz, Bruce Jilka, Mark Kyle, Waldemar Madsen, and Larry Palecek, first received a request to consider the resolution back in February from county resident Janene Ravet and Mad sen — who had not yet been elected to his role on the board.
Based on a video that was circulated on Facebook, the request had the support of a number of community members who attended a Feb. 14 committee meeting.
On June 12, Madsen said he had continued to hear support for the resolution from constituents located throughout the county.
Hintz said he had heard from people in opposition to the resolution. Board of Supervisors Chairman Bob Kopisch, who attended the committee meeting, reported hearing similar feedback.
Madsen suggested the topic be put on the November ballot in Price County.
The chief issue committee members found with the resolution was the burden it put on the county government and the county sheriff to determine what is or isn't constitutional.
"We are not the judges of what is constitutional and neither is the sheriff," said Kopisch. "... this applies to any resolution that tends to be somewhat political, and this is a political issue ... We try to keep these issues out of the county board room. If we go ahead with this, we will have other things come before us; other issues that are political. It is not a county issue. Our job is to perform the duties we are charged with by the state, and that's our scope of influence."
Sheriff Brian Schmidt, who was also in attendance at the meeting, was invited to give feedback.
Schmidt said that he wanted to remain a neutral party, saying he understood both sides of the argument.
"I'm all for the Second Amendment, I don't think anyone's going to argue that," he said. "I think historically, this is what our culture is up here — having firearms in our homes, hunting, personal safety, if you enjoy having a firearm collection."
Schmidt commented that if the county board's stance is to not address political issues beyond their scope, they should be cautious about approving other resolutions that are unnecessary or merely propping up laws that are already in existence.