SHIAWASSEE COUNTY —Three counties in Michigan now consider themselves “Second Amendment sanctuaries” for gun owners, and one local man wants Shiawassee to become the fourth.

The counties, Cheboygan, Mackinac and Oscoda, all in northern Michigan, recently passed similar resolutions that affirm their support for the Second Amendment.

The group behind the effort, Michigan 2A Sanctuary Counties, has been pushing similar legislation in many counties across the state.

Officials in those counties said the resolution doesn’t have any practical impact on their laws.

Locally, the effort is being pushed by Byron resident Anthony Tolbert. He said the resolution isn’t about new laws, rather it’s about what he calls “stopping the encroachment of new gun laws that get passed daily and raising awareness about the issue.”

Tolbert said he is comfortable with the gun laws in Shiawassee County and the state — he has a license to carry a concealed weapon — but he wants to make sure laws do not become more restrictive.

“For me, it’s about making sure there aren’t any more infringements that we currently have. Some of the reasons we’re pushing for this is the talk of assault weapons bans and trying to limiting the capacity of magazines. That’s the kind of stuff we don’t want to see,” Tolbert said.

He cited the recently implemented red flag laws in Virginia as an example of recent attempts to limit Second Amendment rights. He said it has spurred a lot of action. The Virginia law allows law enforcement to remove someone’s weapons if they are deemed a threat. People may get the weapons back after going through a legal process.

Tolbert said Michigan for 2A Sanctuary Counties is new, but growing rapidly. A Facebook page for the group was started Dec. 25, 2019, and already has more than 90,000 members.

“It’s a movement at pretty much the most local level, which for us is the board of commissioners, to try to get out county leaders opinions on how they feel about this particular issue. The main goal of the group is to bring a resolution forward that addresses the second amendment and their support of it,” Tolbert said.

He said he began reaching out to commissioners several weeks ago attempting to get their opinion on the issue. He said that so far no commissioner has responded to him.

He hopes to get more people talking about the issue, but he said so far he has been unable to get commissioners to address the subject.

“As respectfully as I can be, I’ve had a very hard time getting them to respond to this whatsoever. For me the biggest thing is to get people aware and talking,” Tolbert said. “I’m a Republican and a conservative. I think it’s unfortunate that when we talk about guns and the Second Amendment, more recently we talk about it as a left-versus-right issue. Historically, I don’t believe it was a left-versus-right issue, I really don’t think it should be.”

No commissioners responded to Argus-Press requests for comment on “Sanctuary Counties.”

(2) comments


I encourage our elected officials to continue to ignore giving sanctuary to instruments of violence. I support the 2nd amendment but I don't worship it.


Thank you, Pastor Mike. I agree with you. There is a big difference between owning a gun and owning an assault weapon.

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