A rapidly growing number of counties in at least four states are declaring themselves Second Amendment sanctuaries, refusing to enforce gun-control laws that they consider to be infringements on the U.S. constitutional right to keep and bear arms.
Organizers of the pro-gun sanctuaries admit they took the idea from liberals who have created immigration sanctuaries across the United States where local officials defy the Trump administration's efforts to enforce tougher immigration laws.
Now local conservatives are rebelling against majority Democratic rule in the states. Elected sheriffs and county commissioners say they might allow some people deemed to be threats under "red flag" laws to keep their firearms. In states where the legal age for gun ownership is raised to 21, authorities in some jurisdictions could refuse to confiscate guns from 18- to 20-year-olds.
Democrats took control of state governments or widened leads in legislative chambers last November, then followed through on promises to enact gun control in response to an epidemic of mass shootings in public spaces, religious sites and schools.
Resistance to those laws is complicating Democratic efforts to enact gun control in Washington, Oregon, New Mexico and Illinois, even though the party holds the governorship and both chambers of the state legislature in all four states.
The sanctuary movement is exposing the rift between rural and urban America as much as the one between the Republican and Democratic parties, as small, conservative counties push back against statewide edicts passed by big-city politicians.