Michigan’s Ottawa County: A Bastion For Constitutional Rights

In a robust assertion of local sovereignty, Ottawa County, located in western Michigan, has declared itself a “constitutional county” to safeguard its citizens from what it perceives as state and federal government overreach. The passage of this measure is symbolic of a grassroots conservative movement defending not only Second Amendment rights but all constitutional freedoms, a movement that has seen sweeping success in Ottawa County, fueled by the activism of Ottawa Impact, a conservative non-profit organization.

The Ottawa County Board of Commissioners approved the resolution on Tuesday in a decisive 9-1 vote, despite opposition from some residents. Over a hundred people spoke before the board to share their perspectives on the measure. At the end of the six-hour public comment period, the resolution passed overwhelmingly, leading to an eruption of applause from those in attendance.

Ottawa Impact has played a significant role in driving conservative ideals in Ottawa County. The group’s efforts have led to substantial changes in the county’s government structure and policies, including replacing “progressive” Republicans on the board who they believed had failed to protect their constituents. Following their successes, the group expanded its vision, stating its goal to “build an organized, unstoppable, parent-led voter bloc to elect Pro America, Pro-Freedom, Pro Parental Rights, Pro-Life, Pro Child Innocence, and Pro Education candidates in local elections who will defend American values—and then hold their feet to the fire.”

With the passing of this measure, the board promises not to authorize or use any new funds, resources, or employees to enforce any statute, law, rule, order, or regulation that restricts the rights of any law-abiding citizen affirmed by the United States Constitution. The lack of specificity concerning which laws or regulations are considered infringing has drawn some criticism. Despite this, Ottawa County Co-Chair Sylvia Rhodea affirmed that the aim is to protect not just Second Amendment rights but all constitutional rights.

This county-level defiance of overreach is a reaction against Democrat Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s policies, particularly her recent bill restricting gun ownership rights. Critics argue that the county’s stance on these issues will not supersede state or federal laws. However, Ottawa County’s leadership disagrees. They believe in the sanctity of constitutional rights and aim to protect them, especially amid the current political climate.

While opponents voiced concerns about the potential for increased gun violence, proponents of the resolution cited the importance of Second Amendment rights in protecting democracy and individual safety. Gun control measures, they argue, overlook factors like mental health and crime and unfairly target law-abiding gun owners.

Indeed, this resolution has sparked a debate about how localities can interpret and uphold the Constitution, especially in matters such as gun control and parental rights. This conversation will undoubtedly continue as more localities nationwide consider similar measures.

Ultimately, the Ottawa County measure signifies a firm belief in the importance of the Constitution in guiding American life, the importance of local control, and the necessity of protecting citizens from perceived government overreach. It echoes a broader national dialogue about the balance of power between local, state, and federal governments. Ottawa County is at the forefront of this movement and will be closely watched in the coming months and years.

As the “constitutional county” measure stands as a symbol of Ottawa County’s values, a copy will soon be displayed in the board’s meeting room as a constant reminder that “the constitutional rights of the people of Ottawa County shall be preserved and protected as the first priority.”