Letters to the Editor

I was distressed to see Resolution #2023-07 and #2023-08 up for consideration at our Alger County Commissioners meeting on Monday. These resolutions, if passed, would “instruct our Representatives to Oppose all Firearms Control Legislation”, and “declare Alger County a Constitutional Second Amendment Sanctuary”.

It is possible, but hard to believe, that the commissioners are ignorant of the dysfunction of our current system, especially soon after the mass shooting at MSU. It is more plausible, although pessimistic, to suspect they may be ignorant of current proposed state legislation and its widespread support. A third factor may be that this is simply virtue signaling. Given that many of the proposed bills are along the lines of broadly supported ‘common sense’ gun reform, and would even make it easier to safely own firearms, I unfortunately suspect the latter.

For example, SB 84 would prohibit the purchase of firearms if the individual has an extreme risk protection order. Measures like this are broadly supported– it is a good example of legislation that would potentially mitigate risks while not limiting the responsible ownership of firearms. Opposing this legislation while also pushing for Alger to be a Sanctuary County creates a context that clearly protects abusers.

Even more glaring is opposition to SB 81/82, which exempt firearm safety devices like trigger locks and gun safes from sales/use tax. Do our county commissioners want gun owners to pay more taxes for safety equipment? Or are they just willing to let responsible gun owners pay more in order to signal consistent opposition to any and all efforts to move forward on gun reform, no matter how reasonable?

Furthermore, even the ‘third-rail’ of universal background checks has been gaining support. A NPR/Ipsos poll conducted last summer showed that 80% of Republican gun owners polled support universal background checks for all gun sales, which is consistent with other data that has been widely gathered for many years. 80% support makes universal background checks seem not so controversial anymore, so why are our local representatives considering opposing it?

The potential passage of these resolutions seems superfluous at best, virtue signaling at worst, and makes Alger County a potentially more dangerous place to call home. We don’t need to convince each other that we are broadly on the same page regarding common sense gun reform, we just need to convince our representatives to act on this solidarity.

Ruby Miller Onota Township I was unable to attend the most recent meeting of the Alger County Commission, but was greatly disturbed by two resolutions I saw on the agenda. Resolution #202307 to Instruct our Representatives to Oppose All Firearms Control Legislation and Resolution #2023-08 Declaring Alger County a Constitutional Second Amendment Sanctuary are the two resolutions I was sickened to see my commissioners considering. I do not want to see these resolutions on the books in our county.

In 2020 firearm related injuries rose to the leading cause of death among children and adolescents in the United States according to the CDC—surpassing all other causes such as motor vehicle crashes, cancer, and drug overdoses. According to a comparative analysis done by the Kaiser Family Foundation, the US has the highest child and teen firearm mortality rate among countries of similar size and wealth by far. In fact, the US is the only country among those of similar wealth and size in which guns are a leading cause of death among children. In the US, firearms account for 20% of all child deaths compared to an average of less than 2% in countries of similar size and wealth.

America has already surpassed 100 mass shootings for 2023 according to data from the Gun Violence Archive. Not even three months into the year and we’ve had over 100 mass shootings in our country! Our children regularly participate in Lockdown Drills at school to prepare them for the possibility of someone entering the school with a gun. We have normalized and continue to enable the possibility of our children being shot to death while at school.

Voting is a right in this country, but in order to exercise that right you must register to vote. That doesn’t take away anyone’s right to vote. Why can’t we do the same with guns? At the very least we should be doing background checks and registrations, the very least!

I am a constituent of Alger County too, and I want to live in a safe community, a community that puts people over pistols, that considers the safety of children’s lives over the dangers of having guns. I hope my commissioners will take this into consideration when discussing the proposed resolutions. Our priority should be the safety and well-being of our community.

Kristin Fondriest Munising Township

It has come to my attention that the Alger County Board of Commissioners tabled a resolution to effectively protect the Second Amendment rights of the citizens of Alger County and to make Alger County a Second Amendment sanctuary. I would like to emphasize the importance of the passage of this resolution in this letter.

The Michigan Legislature has been in the process of passing several state laws that add regulation and restrictions regarding firearm use, transportation, storage, and purchasing to the citizens of Michigan, even going as far as red flagging people, which would hinder or prohibit the ability to purchase and carry a firearm.

The proposed legislation regarding ERPOs (extreme risk protection orders) would inevitably disarm non-violent individuals. A preponderance of evidence is an insufficient reason to strip an individual of their inherent right to self-defense. Under this law, an individual need not be proven guilty or even notified of the judgment against them. As well-founded concerns of unfounded ERPO reporting gained traction the response was to make it a felony to issue a false report. This gesture is utterly meaningless, as you’d have to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the person filing the report knew the individual they were reporting was not a risk.

Gun control laws leave communities of law-abiding citizens less capable of protecting themselves should the need arise. As we saw on MSU campus, the existing laws that seek to prevent felons from acquiring firearms are utterly unenforceable and easily circumvented by anyone with a desire to do so.

It is my request that the Alger County Board of Commissioners go through the proper channels promptly to pass the Second Amendment sanctuary resolution that was tabled on 3/13/2023 as this would send a statement that the citizens, and elected officials oppose government overreach of our rights to keep and bear arms, and to protect ourselves and our communities.

The natural right to self-defense is one of our most important rights as human beings, and the Second Amendment is THE segment in our founding documents that provides a check on our government from violating this natural and inalienable right, even if the government wishes to use laws to protect its citizens from supposed harm. The best defense against a violent and armed assailant is a well armed peaceful person. I urge you to pass this resolution as quickly as possible. Thank you for the consideration and representing the citizens of Alger County.

Ryan Roberts President, Upper Peninsula Libertarian Party