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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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County Board May Consider Weapons Protection Resolution

Issue Date: December 12, 2019

The final Marinette County Board meeting of 2019, to be held on Tuesday, Dec. 17, may or may not include discussion and action on a resolution expressing strong opposition to enactment of any legislation that would infringe on the constitutional right of the people to keep and bear arms and expressing support of the Sheriff should he decide not to enforce unconstitutional weapons laws should they be passed on state or federal levels.

Intent of the resolution is quite similar to that of "weapons sanctuary" resolution passed unanimously by Florence County Board in November.

Supervisor John Guarisco brought the proposed resolution to the Marinette County Board's Public Services Committee on Tuesday, Dec. 10, where it received opposition from Committee Chair Ken Keller and after discussion was scheduled for action at the January committee meeting.

However, Guarisco had also asked that it be placed on the agenda for the Administrative Committee meeting at 9 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 12, and it may or may not come to a vote there. If it is approved there action would likely be scheduled for the Dec.17 board meeting. If not, there would be no action for or against the resolution until January.

Other items expected to come up at the Dec. 17 County Board meeting include the professional services contract with UWEX for the coming year. The County Board's Development Committee had been informed by County Administrator John LeFebvre at its meeting on Tuesday, Dec.10 that that he and Corporation Counsel Gale Mattison feel some issues with that contract remain to be settled. At his suggestion, the committee recommended approval by the full County Board on Tuesday only if Mattison approves. UWEX officials have informed the county if the contract is not signed by Jan. 1 some staff services to Marinette County will end, including instructors for agriculture, 4-H and more and providing insurance for Harmony Gardens Master Gardeners and 4-H Club events and activities.

In more routine board business, Peter Shaw, senior engineer with CenturyLink, is expected to report on the status of broadband, and Quasan Shaw, United States Census partnership specialist, is expected to report on the status of Broadband.

LeFebvre had expressed hope at the Public Services Committee meeting that he would have a person to recommend to fill the Child Support Director position that has been vacant for several months.

Several Marinette County Health and Human Services Contracts, agreements and memorandums of understanding are slated for approval, as is authorization for the Mar-Oco Landfill Committee to use a letter of credit for closure, listing Veterans Memorial park campsites with electric service at $25 per night, leasing Family Services of Northeast Wisconsin space at 1926 Hall Ave., Marinette for $475 per month, approval of a number of other professional and technical services contracts; reserving marinettecounty.gov as a second level domain name for county use; entering into a contract with the City of Marinette for the County to provide Human Resources Support Services to the City through December 31, 2020 with minimum revenue of $12,000, subject to Corporation Counsel's approval, and renewing Aegis Corporation 2020 Position Schedule Bond insurance with a $732,000 total limit at a cost of $2,044.

The proposed right to bear arms resolution reads:

"WHEREAS, the right of the people to keep and bear arms is guaranteed as an individual right under the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution and under the Constitution of the State of Wisconsin, Article 1, Section 25 - ''The people have the right to keep and bear arms for security, defense, hunting, recreation or any other lawful purpose"; and

"WHEREAS, the right of the people to keep and bear arms for defense of life, liberty, and property is regarded as an inalienable right by the people of Marinette County; and

"WHEREAS, the people of Marinette County derive economic benefit from all safe forms of firearms recreation, hunting, and shooting conducted within Marinette County using all types of firearms allowable under the United States Constitution and the Constitution of the State of Wisconsin; and

"WHEREAS, Marinette County Board Supervisors are elected to represent the people of Marinette County and are duly sworn by their oath of office to uphold the United States Constitution and the Constitution of the State of Wisconsin; and

"WHEREAS, the members of the Wisconsin House of Representatives and the Wisconsin Senate are elected by the people of the State of Wisconsin and are duly sworn by their oath of office to uphold the United States Constitution and the Constitution of the State of Wisconsin; and

"WHEREAS, the Marinette County Board of Supervisors opposes any legislation considered by the Wisconsin state legislature that would infringe on the right to keep and bear arms and would ban the possession and use of any firearms, magazines, ammunition or body armor now employed by individual citizens of Marinette County for defense of life, liberty and property or would require a firearms owner I.D. card or tax the possession of firearms or ammunition within Marinette County;

"BE IT RESOLVED, the Marinette County Board of Supervisors hereby declare Marinette County to be a Second Amendment Sanctuary County.

"BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the Marinette County Board of Supervisors affirms its support of the Sheriff to exercise sound discretion to not enforce against any citizen an unconstitutional firearms law.

"BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the Marinette County Board of Supervisors will not appropriate any funds for any enforcement of unconstitutional laws against the people of Marinette County.

"BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED the Marinette County Board of Supervisors opposes the enactment of any legislation that would infringe upon the right of the people to keep and bear arms and considers such laws to be unconstitutional and beyond lawful legislative authority," and concludes:

"BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Marinette County Board of Supervisors directs the County Clerk to forward this resolution to the governor, assembly members and senators representing Marinette County and the Wisconsin Counties Association."

In arguing for support from the Public Services Committee, which has oversight responsibilities for law enforcement, including the Sheriff's Department, Guarisco said generally when there's a proposal for County Board action he looks ad the upside and the downside,"but in this case I don't see a down side."

There have been proposals from Washington and and recently from Madison and Gov. Tony Evers to restrict firearm ownership and possession, particularly the "red flag" proposal.

"State and federal governments need to know what the people of Marinette county want and what we believe in," he declared. "We depend on our firearms a lot!"

Keller disagreed. "To me, this has too much "political" written all over it," he declared. He said he had grown up with guns and is an excellent marksman, but suggested it would make the lives of police officers more difficult at a time when we are buying them bullet proof vests and other protective gear. He expressed opposition to people having some of today's high powered automatic weapons, and suggested bringing the resolution up now was a political ploy.

Supervisor Ginger Deschane said she herself doesn't own or shoot guns, but declared, "I believe firmly in the right to bear arms...People in Madison and DC are a little out of control right now...I think we should be pro-active.!"

Supervisor Laura Frea asked to hear from the law enforcement people present, and Sheriff Jerry Sauve said he strongly supports the Second Amendment rights, and will use his discretion. He said his first duty is to live by the Constitution and would live by that no matter what laws are passed. He noted there had been alot of concern for law enforcement officers over the concealed carry issues, but there turned out to be very few problems.

He repeated, "Whether County Board adopts this resolution or not, if they want to take our guns, we would certainly exercise sound discretion."

Keller suggested the resolution was introduced at this time to put pressure on supervisors to adopt it, with the threat, "If you don't support it, we will vote you out."

Supervisor George Kloppenberg moved to hold off on action until next month to give them time to talk with their constituents before voting. that motion passed, with opposition from Keller and Supervisor Glenn Broderick.


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