A sheriff in rural Hood County, Texas, has begun the process of declaring his jurisdiction a “sanctuary county” in which any new state and federal gun control laws will not be enforced.
“People are scared. They don’t want to lose their rights,” Sheriff Roger Deeds told local media. “They have the right to protect themselves and we’re going to make sure that they keep that right to keep and bear arms and protect themselves.”
Deeds joins sheriffs in less gun-friendly states like Washington, Illinois, and California in calling for sanctuary counties to oppose state-level gun control laws. While the Texas legislature has historically defended gun rights, the Lone Star sheriff might be responding to calls for universal background checks from Texas Lieutenant Gov. Dan Patrick following massacres in El Paso and Odessa.
“That gun didn’t pull its own trigger. It took somebody with a demented mind that was maybe in that mental crisis mode to pull that trigger,” Deeds said. “Here in this part of Texas people don’t take too kindly to others, especially from the federal government, talking about wanting to take away people’s rights, people’s weapons, rifles, pistols.
“My message to the people of Hood County is I’m not going to stand by and allow anybody, if it’s the federal government or whoever, stating that they’re going to take away people’s rifles. That’s not going to happen,” Deeds said. “It can’t happen under the constitution of the United States the way it’s wrote anyway.”
Deeds told local media his proposal enjoys strong support from judges and county commissioners. If the proposal goes through it will have to be passed by the Commissioner’s Court of Hood County, and he hopes to get a vote next month.
“We’re doing this to the legal letter of the law, and that’s why we’re going to meet with the county attorney and make sure we get it spelled out right,” he said.
Pressure to enact more restrictive gun control laws has also come from Washington, where the Democrat-controlled House has passed numerous anti-gun bills, President Trump has waffled on his support for universal background checks, and former Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke vowed to confiscate AR-15’s and AK-47’s.
Deeds is up for reelection next year, and some have suggested that the move is more about politics than gun rights.
Whatever his motivation, Hood County gun owners are no doubt happy to hear that their sheriff is willing to push back against federal lawmakers intent on confiscating their firearms.
“We’re not going to be messing with the Second Amendment in Hood County,” Deeds said.