LOGAN COUNTY, Okla. (KFOR) – The Logan County sheriff made a controversial announcement, naming the county a 2nd Amendment Sanctuary County.
Sheriff Damon Devereaux promised his citizens to enforce the right to bear arms, rather than any laws that would infringe on it.
"In rural Oklahoma where we live up here, 750 square miles, I want to ensure my citizens that they’re going to be able to protect themselves if we can’t get there fast enough. That’s the bottom line," Devereaux said.
He said he's gotten a wave of support from citizens.
"I love it," said Bruce Nunez who works at Terry's Gun & Pawn.
Nunez said limiting gun rights doesn't have the same effect on everyone in the state.
"That may be convenient if you're in major metropolitan area with a thousand-man police force that can get to your house in five minutes," Nunez said. "Here in Logan County there are people who it takes 30 minutes. Thirty minutes is a long time when somebody's kicking down your door."
State Rep. Jason Lowe is calling it a political stunt, insisting it's his duty to enforce the law no matter what.
"A sheriff's job is not to dictate his opinion on a law or to determine whether a law is constitutional or not, it's the court's job," Lowe said. "So, I totally disagree with him imposing his political opinion on this issue."
Devereaux said he concedes it may look political, but it's meant to be practical.
"It’s not about the votes or the political side of things," Devereaux said. "It’s the right thing to do for our citizens."
He is specifically concerned about red flag laws that would allow law enforcement or family to ask a judge to remove guns from a person deemed to be dangerous for a short time.
"That’s concerning to me to seize weapons on somebody’s complaint without due process," the sheriff said. "We’re going to do our due diligence to make sure that any investigation we do is not going to infringe on their rights. I mean, all their rights."
But Cacky Poarch, a volunteer with Moms Demand Action, said she expects law enforcers to uphold common sense gun laws, which she believes include red flag laws.
"It is through legal means, it is a safety measure, and I think it benefits Oklahomans," Poarch said. "And I think what the sheriff is doing is not a benefit."
Now Stephens County Sheriff Wayne McKinney is taking Devereaux's lead, establishing Stephens County as a 2nd Amendment Sanctuary County. In his announcement, he said he intends "that no public funds will be used in any manner to restrict the Second Amendment rights of the citizens of Stephens County."
Devereaux said it wasn't his intention to pressure other sheriffs to follow suit, but he's happy to help pass along information.
"I think it's important that us as the elected official for the counties put our foot down and say, 'Enough's enough,'" Devereaux said. "We're going to support our people's constitutional rights."