Bremer County 2

The Bremer County Courthouse in Waverly. Content Exchange

WAVERLY — While the idea of becoming a “constitutional county” was pretty quickly shot down in Bremer County last week, support for a more narrow, Second Amendment-focused measure at the state level seemed to generate interest.

Gary Shawver, of Wadena, and Mike La Coste, of Waverly, appeared before the Bremer County Board of Supervisors in late August to ask it to consider declaring Bremer a “constitutional county.”

A constitutional county is one that ensures it will neither enact nor enforce any laws that encroach upon the rights of citizens under the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights. The county’s sheriff becomes the primary enforcer of both, superseding all three branches of federal and state government as necessary.

The idea was clearly not a popular one as every one of the 10 or so residents in attendance at Tuesday’s meeting, when the issue was on the agenda for discussion, spoke against it.

Supervisor Tim Neil said 100% of the calls and emails he’d received were against the idea, which he called a bit of “grandstanding.” All three supervisors acknowledged that they took oaths to uphold both the federal and state constitutions and took that responsibility seriously, but didn’t see the need to go any further.

Except when it comes to the Second Amendment, regarding citizens’ right to bear arms, according to Supervisor Duane Hildebrandt. Hildebrandt told those in attendance that he was certain they all knew he is a “very strong proponent of the Second Amendment.

“The secretary of state neglected to get the state amendment on the ballot, and I thought that we were simply saying we in Bremer County believe in strong Second Amendment rights,” he said, referring to the Iowa Legislature’s intent to put an amendment to the state’s constitution supporting the Second Amendment on the ballot. Once he found out the proposal was more broad than that, Hildebrandt said he became concerned.

Sheriff Dan Pickett, who Shawver and La Coste said in a previous Courier story supported their efforts, told those in attendance he, too, thought the proposal was only in regard to the Second Amendment. The sheriff went on at length about how “specific” he felt the Second Amendment was and that it was something we need to support.

If someone comes to my house to take my gun, I don’t know that we need to dictate that to anybody,” Pickett said. “We gotta follow the law and what’s right.”

A resident began to ask the sheriff to what he thought could be added to what was already in existence with the Second Amendment that would make his job easier.

“I think we have to follow what the laws are,” Pickett said in response. “And I think the Second Amendment right is written fairly clear for people to bear arms.”

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