NEEDLES — Council’s July action to declare Needles a Second Amendment Sanctuary City has inspired many comments and some emulation over the intervening months; including creation of a Fierce About Freedom Award by the California Rifle and Pistol Association; a similar declaration in neighboring Mohave County and a suggestion that Bullhead City follow suit.
Needles City Council showed off the CRPA award to the public during their November meeting. City Manager Rick Daniels read from a letter that accompanied the award. That letter didn’t make it into the packet of background information but a statement that was circulated on the web at the time reads: “California Rifle and Pistol Association was so inspired by the city of Needles initiative to ardently protect and defend the Second Amendment within their borders by declaring themselves a Second Amendment Sanctuary City that it inspired the creation of the Fierce About Freedom Award. It is presented to those who fearlessly defend the freedoms of their fellow man through the constitutionally-enumerated right that is the Second Amendment.”
Contacted at their Fullerton, Calif., headquarters, CRPA Executive Director Rick Travis echoed that sentiment. “The city’s action definitely merited that award so we were very happy to present that to them,” he said.
Travis’ hope is that more California cities will take action to stand up for Second Amendment rights, he continued; “To start to let people in Sacramento know they’re not representing a majority.”
Doing so will take people making a stand to raise public awareness of constitutional rights, Travis explained; to communicate the idea that these are civil rights, guaranteed under the country’s initial Bill of Rights. The CRPA plans to use the award to acknowledge organizations or groups that explain the rights of individuals under the Second Amendment, especially in the context of their expanded importance to the other guarantees of freedom encompassed in the Bill of Rights: the first 10 amendments to the United States Constitution ratified in 1791. “Things like First Amendment rights,” Travis said. “We felt the city of Needles did that with their comments.” Without rights to defend themselves people stand to lose those First Amendment rights, he continued: rights to freedom of religion, to assembly and free speech.
“It’s more than just a paper issue,” he concluded. “We thought the stand Needles took was quite impressive and we wanted to commend them for that.”
A lengthy list of talking points was voiced by Needles City Council when the declaration was adopted. Read them in the July 17 edition of the Needles Desert Star. Boiled down, they include:
• City councilors took an oath to support and defend the U.S. Constitution and feel compelled to defend citizens’ rights;
• The U.S. Supreme Court has recognized the right of individuals to keep and bear arms, however, California continues to advance legislation to minimize that right;
• That legislation includes Proposition 63 which, among other things, forbids Needles residents to buy ammunition in Arizona without fear of arrest and effectively denies citizens who can’t travel more than 100 miles access to lawful ammunition. Preventing lawful commerce between states, the city points out, is a violation of federal law.
• California’s restrictions on concealed carry of firearms create a danger for residents of neighboring states where they are legally allowed to do so.
“The governor and legislature just did not consider communities like Needles when they ushered in these new laws, so we are asking that they consider us now,” the document concludes.
Mayor Jeff Williams reiterated that observation when asked to comment on the CRPA’s Fierce About Freedom Award. “I am very proud of this council and city staff and the forward thinking that has really put the city on the map,” he said. “The CRPA acknowledging the city is a great thing for the city and state, showing not all Californians are the same.”