Michigan Republican pops 2nd Amendment sanctuary state resolution

By: - February 11, 2020 4:33 pm

Gun-rights proponents begin to fill Ninth Street near the security screening entrance to the Virginia Capitol grounds Monday morning. | Ryan Kelly, for the Virginia Mercury

State Rep. Gary Eisen (R-St. Clair Twp.) has introduced several resolutions to protect Second Amendment rights, both at the state and local level. 

They include House Resolution 219 which would declare Michigan a sanctuary state and “fully affirm its support of the rights ensured and protected by the constitutions of the United States and Michigan, including the rights of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms.”

Rep. Gary Eisen

The sanctuary state resolution was introduced Jan. 21 and wasn’t on the Tuesday House Judiciary Committee agenda, but Eisen referred to it anyway. The measure was instead referred to the House Committee on Government Operations. 

The resolution expresses concern about legislation in the Michigan Legislature and Congress that supporters say would infringe on gun rights. It urges federal and state agencies to preserve the right to bear arms. 

Copies of the resolution would be sent to the president of the U.S. Senate, Vice President Mike Pence, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and all Michigan U.S. Senate and House members.

There’s a growing national movement to establish Second Amendment sanctuaries, with Virginia as the epicenter, as the Advance previously reported. Lapeer, Mackinac, Cheboygan, Otsego, Presque Isle, Oscoda, Kalkaska and Osceola counties have adopted resolutions, Mlive reported. Other counties, including Monroe, Ionia, Berrien, Macomb, Livingston and Jackson, are considering measures.


Eisen discussed his gun rights efforts before the House Judiciary Committee, presenting House Resolution 227, which says the Legislature will uphold citizen’s rights to bear arms.

Tuesday was the only day testimony will be taken for HR 227, Committee Chair Rep. Graham Filler (R-DeWitt) said. No vote was taken at the meeting.

HR 227 includes:

  • The right to bear arms, not solely for hunting, but also to protect one’s self, family, lawlessness of others and tyranny of governments, would be affirmed
  • The Legislature will not pass laws or allow the federal government to impose legislation infringing on resident’s right to bear arms.
  • The Legislature will not pass laws infringing on residents’ right to own and keep firearms

A self-proclaimed “Baby Boomer,” Eisen told the committee he grew up in an area where people started hunting at around 11 years old and the right to bear arms was a given. 

In Michigan, children as young as 10 can have a youth hunting license. Until age 9, children must hunt with a Mentored Youth License, where a licensed person 21 and older must accompany them.


Eisen also said he introduced a resolution at the local level to make St. Clair County a Second Amendment sanctuary. However, the county commissioners took issue with the word “sanctuary” because of immigrants, Eisen said.

“Many feel that the word sanctuary was hijacked by cities for the illegal aliens and stuff,” Eisen said. “It’s a good word, but it just got kind of turned around, with the illegal sanctuary cities and stuff.”

The Times Herald reported that the county resolution Eisen introduced, with no mention of the word “sanctuary,” passed unanimously by the six commissioners present at a Feb. 6 meeting. The board’s only Democrat, Howard Heidemann, was not present.

Rep. Steven Johnson

State Rep. Steven  Johnson (R- Wayland), a co sponsor on HR 219 and HR 227, said on Tuesday he’ll vote for HR 227, but it doesn’t do nearly enough. He said the committee needs to back bills protecting the right to bear arms.

“The Second Amendment is truly one of the most important freedoms that we have here in America; I think one of the reasons why we are still one of the freest countries out there,” Johnson said. “I’d hope that we don’t just stop at this resolution and say ‘this is enough,’ but we’d take the next step forward with actual bills actual legislation that will actually help people Second Amendment rights here in the state of Michigan.”

State Rep. Beau LaFave (R-Iron Mountain) who is on the Judiciary Committee and a cosponsor of both the resolutions, didn’t offer comment. LaFave, a vocal proponent of gun rights, said that his firearms were stolen from his Lansing home shortly after he tried to bring one to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s State of the State address to protest her gun control stance.

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Anna Liz Nichols
Anna Liz Nichols

Anna Liz Nichols covers government and statewide issues, including criminal justice, environmental issues, education and domestic and sexual violence. Anna is a former state government reporter for The Associated Press and most recently was a reporter for the Detroit News. Anna is a graduate of Michigan State University.