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Shasta County Supervisor Kevin Crye Balks on 2nd Amendment Resolution as Supervisor Jones Seethes at Packed Board Meeting

A standing-room only crowd awaits Tuesday evening’s Shasta County Board of Supervisors meeting that would vote on the controversial 2nd Amendment resolution sponsored by Supervisor Patrick Jones. Photos by Doni Chamberlain

Heading into Tuesday night’s Shasta County Board of Supervisors meeting, there was one overarching question regarding the so-called Second Amendment resolution proffered by District 4 Supervisor, board chair and gun store scion Patrick Jones.

Board chair Dist. 4 Supervisor Patrick Jones sponsored the 2nd Amendment resolution R4 agenda item.

Would the board majority approve the resolution as written, including its butchering of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, its empowerment of local officials to ignore state and federal laws, its establishment of an annual loyalty oath for county officials and employees, and its rejection of any grants or funding considered anti-Second Amendment by Jones and his ultraconservative cohorts?

Top photo: Patrick Jones featured in RW&B Episode 8. Bottom photo: Carlos Zapata chats with Terry Rapoza at the election night party held at Country Strong Fitness as seen in RW&B Episode 8.

Or would the commonsense legal revisions suggested by outgoing Shasta County Counsel Rubin Cruse’s redlined version of the document prevail, neutering the resolution’s authoritarian tendencies and rendering the resolution a mere affirmation that Shasta County adheres to the Second Amendment “as determined by precedential decisions made by courts of competent jurisdictions?”

If you chose “none of the above,” buy a lottery ticket, because, in a surprise nonvote on the resolution, newly elected District 1 supervisor Kevin Crye abstained from voting, and Jones’ attempt to ram a Second Amendment sanctuary county resolution down Shasta County’s throat failed on a 2-2 tie.

Newly appointed Dist. 1 Supervisor said he “struggled” with the R4 agenda decision. Photo by Doni Chamberlain.

District 5 Supervisor Chris Kelstrom joined Jones. District 2 Supervisor Tim Garman joined District 3 Supervisor Mary Rickert in the deadlocked decision.

The supervisors voted 4-1 to kick the can down the road to the next board meeting in 2 weeks, where they’ll consider the Second Amendment resolution one more time.

The decision came at the peak of a raucous meeting attended by enthusiastic supporters on both sides of the Second Amendment issue.

During public speaking on the proposed resolution, local right-wing gadfly Rich Gallardo complained that the state of California will soon pass legislation prohibiting guns in libraries and airports, and other places where people don’t want to get shot. He claimed the resolution’s loyalty oath gives the person who swears it the “individual authority to discern whether something is unconstitutional or not.”

For the record, he’s totally making stuff up. Gallardo, a self-proclaimed citizen journalist, refuses to return A News Café’s inquiries.

Richard Gallardo clutches balloons outside the foyer before Tuesday evening’s meeting that would address the R4 agenda item to decide the fate of Supervisor Patrick Jones’ 2nd Amendment resolution. Gallardo later tied the balloons to railings throughout the board chambers. Photo by Doni Chamberlain.

The Second Amendment resolution, supposedly authored by Shasta County Gun Owners, the local chapter of the California Rifle and Pistol Association that Gallardo used to head, is a pared-down version of the profoundly unconstitutional resolution the chapter presented to the board in July 2021.

It begins with the same bit of subterfuge, attempting to bootstrap a God-given right to self-defense into the Declaration of Independence, which it erroneously refers to as the fundamental founding document (instead of the Constitution). The faulty resolution begins:

“Whereas our Declaration of Independence is the fundamental document in the founding of the United States, and it recognizes the Natural Law inherent in our land and that our Rights come from the Creator God; and that among these Rights is the right of self-defense.”

If you had a quarter for every time a public speaker claimed they had a God-given right to carry a firearm Tuesday night, you could feed the meter in downtown Redding’s new parking scheme several weeks in a row. Outgoing county counsel Cruse had little patience for the rehashed resolution. The very first paragraph drew an immediate rebuke from Cruse, presented as a margin note on the red-lined resolution.

 

“Staff recommends this language in the original resolution be removed because it does not accurately reflect the language in the Declaration of Independence,” the note reads. “There is no reference in the Declaration of Independence to a ‘right of self-defense.’ Instead, staff recommends the actual language of the Declaration of Independence be quoted.”

Rubin Cruse

Fat chance.

The resolution’s second paragraph states the familiar text of the Second Amendment: A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

The resolution’s third paragraph seeks to build the case for loyalty oaths by pointing out that Article VI of the Constitution requires senators, representatives, state legislators, and judicial officers to pledge support to the Constitution. But as the county staff margin note points out, the resolution conveniently drops the article’s punchline, that there is no religious test for office in the United States.

One need not ponder too long why a gun rights movement comprised largely of Christian nationalists who believe the United States was founded as a Christian country and that gun ownership is a God-given right would omit the fact the U.S. Constitution mandates there be no religious test for holding office.

Building its case for oaths in general, the resolution notes that Californians enjoy inalienable rights protected by the state’s constitution, including “enjoying and defending life and liberty, acquiring, possessing, and protecting property, and pursuing and obtaining safety, happiness, and privacy.”

Then the resolution mandates that Shasta County’s elected officials and employees take an annual oath to “uphold and defend the U.S. Constitution and the California Constitution.”

It’s worth noting here that the California oath of office for elected officials and public employees requires them to pledge, upon accepting the position, that they do not advocate nor belong to any “party or organization, political or otherwise, that now advocates the overthrow of the Government of the United States or of the State of California by force or violence or other unlawful means.”

How that oath applies to Jan. 6 insurrectionists and State of Jefferson secessionists remains to be seen.

After conferring with the California Rifle and Pistol Association on the nature of their proposed oath, Cruse and staff advised inserting a disclaimer in the resolution, in the form of California case law precedent that states a “public official faithfully upholds the Constitution by complying with the mandates of the Legislature, leaving to courts the decision whether those mandates are invalid.”

In other words, county supervisors don’t determine if laws are constitutional, courts do.

Enter the Supreme Court of the United States and the now infamous New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen case decided last June. The case involved New York’s century-old concealed carry law, which required applicants to demonstrate a need to carry a concealed weapon in public places. The decision, authored by Justice Clarence Thomas, the court’s most conservative member, struck down New York’s requirement to show need for a concealed weapon as unconstitutional.

Thomas, speaking for the court’s 6-3 ultraconservative majority, declared that lower courts may no longer use the public interest in reducing gun violence, injuries, and deaths in their decision-making process on Second Amendment cases. Instead, they must consult only the historical record on firearms regulations, specifically gun regulations dating to 1791, when the Second Amendment was established, or 1868, after the 14h Amendment extending certain U.S. Constitutional rights to the states was ratified.

The CRPA runs with the Bruen case in its resolution, correctly claiming that the decision “upheld the authority of the Second Amendment and the right of the people to keep and bear arms and reaffirming the previous Heller decision that the Second Amendment is a fundamental and individual right.”

The CRPA prefers to ignore the portions in the Bruen and Heller decisions that agree that federal and state governments have the right to regulate firearms. Instead, according to the resolution, those SCOTUS decisions grant the board of supervisors, county officials, and county employees the right to ignore laws and regulations they believe violate the Second Amendment. The resolution states:

“Shasta County Board of Supervisors and all county officers, officials, and employees reserve the right to not enforce any past, present, and future state or federal laws, regulations, orders, treaties, or rules that violate the Second Amendment as originally written and intended.”

We’re left floating in a sea of anarchy.

At this point, Cruse and staff once again recommend inserting language into the resolution that points out that judgments on Second Amendment issues are “determined by precedential decisions made by courts of competent jurisdiction” and not by whatever stirs Patrick Jones and Chris Kelstrom’s loins.

Next, the resolution states that the Shasta County Board of Supervisors, “shall, with minimal delay, draft or amend county policies, procedures, and ordinances, or take other actions necessary to enforce this resolution.”

This is District 4 Shasta County supervisor Patrick Jones encouraging county employees to break the law.

How far is Jones willing to go to sanctify county policy in his image? He has stated that he intends to introduce a resolution permitting county employees to carry firearms at work in direct violation of Shasta County’s policy against violence in the workplace, which prohibits county employees from “possessing a firearm or any object ordinarily used or intended to be used as a weapon in a County building or at a work site (including an outdoor work site) or a County vehicle, whether or not the employee has been issued a permit to carry a concealed weapon.”

Why would any county employee go along with Jones’ scheme to arm the county workplace? Because they’ll all be forced to take loyalty oaths according to the raw text of the resolution, which states “all county elected officials, appointed officials, and all other county employees or volunteers subject to the Oath, shall renew their Oath of Office annually, and by signature attest to doing so by Constitution Day, September 17th … and effective immediately all county officials, elected and appointed, shall review this resolution and by signature attest to doing so, and thereafter annually by Constitution Day, September 17.”

This is first-rate fascist authoritarianism that Cruse and staff correctly suggest replacing with text that doesn’t create “additional oath requirements that appear to contradict state law. The California Constitution provides that ‘no other oath, declaration, or test, shall be required as a qualification for any public office or employment.”

Instead of forcing everyone to take an annual loyalty oath to Jones’ interpretation of the Second Amendment that’s patently unconstitutional, Cruse recommended that “staff shall prepare a Proclamation of the Board of Supervisors in recognition of the United States Constitution annually by Constitution Day. Such proclamation shall declare the importance of the U.S. Constitution and reiterate to all staff and the public the importance of the Oath of Office to which county employees, elected and appointed officials have subscribed prior to performing the duties of their respective positions.”

Jones and Kelstrom gambled against Cruse’s sage advice and lost big time—at least for now.

On the agenda, Jones claimed the resolution will have no general fund impact, but that’s hard to square with the resolution’s conclusion, which states, “Shasta County will use legal means at its disposal to protect the Second Amendment, this Resolution, and all county officials acting in accordance with this resolution.”

That includes prohibiting “by resolution or ordinance, any Shasta County department, officer, or employee from applying for grants, spending public funds, using public resources or public employees, that directly or indirectly support state or federal infringements on the Second Amendment.”

It’s a money-losing proposition, guaranteed. A Patrick Jones specialty.

Jones gaveled down one woman who claimed his Second Amendment resolution was right on par with the board’s boneheaded decision last month, prompted by Jones, to break the county’s contract with Dominion Voting Systems, at a cost to taxpayers of $1 million and counting.

“I was trying to blend it in because that’s where you’re headed,” the woman told Jones.

A labor union rep correctly noted that Jones will have to clear his Second Amendment resolution with more than a half-dozen bargaining units.

Ray Thomas, president of the Five Counties Central Labor Council, educated the board about the host of potential illegalities of Jones’ proposed 2nd Amendment resolution.

Tea Party activist and Reverge Anselmo bagman Mark Kent accused those opposing the resolution of being communists.

Mark Kent.

Local philanthropist Judy Salter correctly summed up the feelings in the room.

“I do support the Second Amendment,” she said. “But I’ve attended too many board meetings over the past couple of years to think it’s a good idea to bring guns in here. … I don’t want to be afraid … I’m weary of reading all the stories about all the fighting in Shasta County. We’re the poster child of infighting. Let’s not add guns to public meetings and public buildings.”

Wiser words may have never been spoken in the Shasta County Board of Supervisors chambers.

If you appreciate journalist R.V. Scheide’s investigative reporting and commentary, please consider a contribution to A News Cafe. Thank you!

R.V. Scheide

R.V. Scheide is an award-winning journalist who has covered news, politics, music, arts and culture in Northern California for more than 30 years. His work has appeared in the Tenderloin Times, Sacramento News & Review, Reno News & Review, Chico News & Review, North Bay Bohemian, San Jose Metro, SF Bay Guardian, SF Weekly, Alternet, Boston Phoenix, Creative Loafing and Counterpunch, among many other publications. His honors include winning the California Newspaper Publishers Association’s Freedom of Information Act and best columnist awards as well as best commentary from the Society of Professional Journalists, California chapter. Mr. Scheide welcomes your comments and story tips. Contact him at RVScheide@anewscafe.com..

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