Hubbard County vows to uphold constitutional rights, including 2nd Amendment

County commissioners intend to declare Hubbard County is a “2nd Amendment dedicated county.”

A resolution, expressing the county’s “deep commitment to the Constitutional rights of all citizens of Hubbard County, including the individual right to keep and bear arms,” will be part of the board’s April 21 consent agenda for final approval.

Representing a group of about 800 members, Jason “Bucky” Johnson of Park Rapids and Matthew Berge of Bemidji presented the original resolution to the county board last month.

County commissioners discussed the verbage at their April 14 work session, which was held remotely via GoToMeet.

Hubbard County Coordinator Eric Nerness said the board revised the wording, which initially asked the county to become a “2nd Amendment sanctuary.”


“If you were to read through this entire document, what you would see is that we made it a bit more inclusive, in some ways, to say that the Hubbard County Board has taken their oath to uphold and defend the U.S. and Minnesota constitutions,” he said.

The resolution states the county board “wishes to express opposition to any law in the future, beyond existing laws to date, that would unconstitutionally restrict the rights of the citizens of Hubbard County, including the individual right to keep and bear arms.”

Noting that county residents “derive economic benefit from all safe forms of firearm recreation, hunting, and shooting conducted within Hubbard County using all types of firearms allowable under the United States Constitution,” the resolution further declares the county board’s intent “to oppose any infringement on the Constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens, including the individual right to keep and bear arms using appropriate legal means.”

Nerness said the draft resolution from residents “strictly focused on the 2nd Amendment. Based on conversations the board had at prior meetings, they wanted to remind and reaffirm that we’re here to protect all liberties of our citizens, as guaranteed by the Constitution, including the 2nd Amendment.”

Johnson said that was the main goal. “Send a message to St. Paul saying, ‘Knock it off. Let’s focus on the real issues here.’”

“I, personally, would be satisfied with this,” Johnson continued.

When asked why the resolution didn’t reference any particular gun legislation, Nerness said that if a gun law is passed, “asking the sheriff to refuse to enforce it could put him in the posture of having to violate his oath.”

Only a litigation and appeals process could determine whether a gun law is unconstitutional, Nerness said. “These days, it’s probably a long and arduous road, but it goes to the Supreme Court.”


County commissioner Tom Krueger said the constitutionality of a law should be left to the courts. “I like the wording as is,” he said.

Johnson noted that, in his research, he learned the county is unable to ignore a state or federal law. “If a local sheriff picks and chooses which law to enforce,” he said, it leads to “a whole pile of legal ramifications.”

Nerness said Hubbard County Sheriff Cory Aukes has publicly said that he is in support of citizens’ 2nd Amendment rights.

The board agreed to put the resolution on the consent agenda at the next meeting.

Shannon Geisen is editor of the Park Rapids Enterprise.
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