Second Amendment protesters interrupt Otter Tail County committee meeting


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“You are here to represent us, the people,” said a woman who did not identify herself and said her group had unsuccessfully tried to get on the county agenda. “And it’s not your obligation to ignore us.” She interrupted County Lawyer Michelle Eldien, who was trying to respond.

Board chairman Lee Rogness threatened to call the woman out of order if she didn’t let Eldian speak.

Halfway through the woman’s comments, the live video feed of the county reunion stopped working and did not resume until the protesters left the room. Rogness had indicated before the start of the meeting that the committee was experiencing technical difficulties with the live stream. County spokesperson Shannon Terry said the interruption in coverage was due to a technical failure, not a decision to cut power.

Terry said the group had members inside and outside the courtroom and they were protesting peacefully.

For more than a year, a group of Otter Tail County residents pushed commissioners to vote on a resolution to declare the county a Second Amendment sanctuary. They argue the measure would protect gun owners from red flag laws and other gun control laws that some say violate the Second Amendment. Warning laws, which would allow a court-ordered temporary withdrawal of a potentially dangerous person’s firearms, have not been passed in Minnesota.

In early 2020, the committee announced that it would take the group’s recommendation into consideration and took no further action on it.

On Tuesday, the board issued a statement reiterating its opposition to the vote on sanctuary status and saying its job is to look after roads and bridges, public safety and natural resources, not resolutions. which do not concern county services.

“Recently, commissioners and county councils across the country were invited to speak out on various issues that do not directly concern county services,” the statement said in part. County councils urged to pass resolutions on gun control, choice of schools, immigration and refugee policy, COVID-19 business closures, mask warrants and a mob other topics.

“Today, a group of citizens of Otter Tail County exercised their 1st Amendment right at the Government Services Center in Fergus Falls by peacefully rallying and expressing their support for the 2nd Amendment.

“While we are strong supporters of the United States Constitution and the 27 Amendments, it is inappropriate for the Otter Tail County Board of Commissioners to pass a symbolic proclamation on the 2nd Amendment or any other matter not relevant to our competence. “

Its reasons are that its powers are limited and derived only from the state, and that it exists to administer the law locally.

“It is inappropriate to mislead the public by claiming that we have some authority over these matters when we do not,” the statement said.

He also said that in light of his many responsibilities, all statutory or mandated by the state, he approved in December a policy of proclamations and resolutions that the county would focus on the matters for which it is responsible and ” would stay in our way “.

The county also said it trusted law enforcement.

“After consulting with our county sheriff and county attorney, these resolutions do nothing to further protect the right of a citizen of Otter Tail County to keep and bear arms, which is expressly guaranteed by the Second Amendment. and has been reaffirmed by the United States Supreme Court, “the statement read. noted.

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