Nobles County will not adopt 2nd Amendment sanctuary status

“There’s no reason to wade into that dumpster fire.”

Nobles County Government Center, Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023, in Worthington.
Nobles County Government Center, Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023, in Worthington.
Tim Middagh / The Globe

WORTHINGTON — Nobles County will not become a Second Amendment sanctuary or dedicated county, it was determined by consensus Wednesday morning during a work session of the board of commissioners.

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Commissioner Justin Ahlers requested the board consider a resolution in support of citizens’ Second Amendment protection rights, which are already covered under the U.S. Constitution.

The federal amendment states, “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.”

More than a dozen Minnesota counties have adopted resolutions on the matter, including neighboring Jackson County, which approved its resolution in October 2021.

Jackson's resolution includes the statement "The Jackson County Board of Commissioners will use any means, within their power, to protect the Second Amendment rights of the citizens of Jackson County."


Making Nobles County a Second Amendment sanctuary county would essentially mean that local government, including law enforcement, would refuse to enforce restrictions they say are unconstitutional that they fear could be placed on the right to keep and bear arms.

“I believe we need to bring it before the board meeting to become a Second Amendment county,” Ahlers said when the topic of discussion was introduced.

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“We stuck together,” Lowell said. “On holidays we still get together and see everyone.”

Nobles County Attorney Joe Sanow, however, disagreed.

“There’s no reason to wade into that dumpster fire,” Sanow said, noting the movement being pushed by a certain political party.

“I know there’s been a lot of talk at the capitol to make it a crime to not store your firearm,” Sanow continued. “I would never charge someone under that statute. I don’t see how it would be detrimental to public safety, based on the legislation, and I don’t see spending lots of time or resources prosecuting people who don’t comply with the statute.”

Commissioner Bob Demuth Jr. said he was in “Joe’s camp,” and “I don’t think it’s any of our business.”

Commissioner Chris Dybevick added, “I’d have to go with the advice of counsel.”

“Leave it rest,” Demuth said.


In other business, the board:

  • Received an update from Jim Pryzbilla about PrimeWest Health, the 24-county public health insurance plan of which Nobles County is a member. The county-based purchasing program was established in 1998, and now has more than 63,000 individuals enrolled, 175 employees and projected revenue for 2023 at $495.3 million.
  • Heard a presentation from Wong Nystrom of Enterprise Fleet Management, Inc., about the potential for Nobles County to enroll in a program to update its vehicle fleet through leasing and lease-to-buy options. Nystrom said the county has 43 light-duty vehicles in its fleet, with 46% of its vehicles over 10 years old. He said the resale value of the fleet is significantly reduced because of the age of the vehicles, and told commissioners that newer vehicles will be more fuel efficient and require less maintenance, creating a cost savings for the county. Since the information was presented in a work session, no action was taken on the matter.
  • Learned that the process for existing and new childcare providers to apply for grants should begin in April. Joshua Schuetz, from Community and Economic Development Associates, presented two grant options, including a child care provider fund grant that would support existing providers and could be used to pay for replacement of playground equipment, program materials and small renovations or fixes in the home. The expansion and capacity grant is to expand slots for childcare for new family providers looking to get started.

One commissioner from the board will be asked to serve on a review committee to determine grant funding amounts for applicants.

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Julie Buntjer became editor of The Globe in July 2021, after working as a beat reporter at the Worthington newspaper since December 2003. She has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism from South Dakota State University.
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