In 2017, you may remember, the Village of Cooperstown dipping its toe in the “sanctuary” pond.
The Village Board passed a resolution telling the federal government it could not depend on the cooperation of Cooperstown police if ICE – U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement – were to launch a local raid.
Happily, ICE was occupied with real hot-spots and the resolution sort of faded away.
Now, another idea is on the table: A “Second Amendment Sanctuary,” presumably where the state’s SAFE Act, toughest in the nation, it’s said, won’t be enforced.
Last week, outdoor columnist and county Rep. Rick Brockway, R-West Laurens, on behalf of the 2AS organization, presented petitions with 3,925 signatures to the county Board of Representatives, asking it to reject any law that is “constitutionally repugnant.”
Appropriately, county Board Chairman Dave Bliss, R-Cooperstown/Town of Middlefield, deftly assigned the measure to a committee – Public Safety & Legal Affairs, chaired by Dan Wilber, R-Burlington – where it will stay for a while.
Curiously, some folks who were enthusiastic about the first “sanctuary” have no enthusiasm for the second.
Which gets to the nub of the whole “sanctuary” concept.
First, there’s a practical point.
In the first case, did anyone – the trustees foremost – want Cooperstown, getaway from the hustle and hubbub of city life, to become a magnet for illegal residents and a center of immigration conflict?
Likewise, does anyone really want to see a gun on every hip?
Second, there’s the rule of law.
If you don’t like something, there’s a process to change it. Perfection is probably off the table, so any reform in any area would be imperfect in some other way.
So it is with the SAFE Act.
Here’s a modest proposal. Perhaps Wilber’s committee and the 2AS can identify two or three of the most egregious elements in the SAFE Act, and make common cause with other counties to reform the reform.
Most of the complaints about the SAFE Act, it seems, have to do with a too-complicated process, inconvenience and expense. Can’t that be tinkered with?
Can the ferment generated by my-way-or-the-highway sanctuary movements – guns, immigration or whatever – be channeled in to sensible, incremental reform?
That would be the American Way, at least as we used to consider it.