Sheriff Eddie Virden has signed off on, and posted online, a declaration of his intent to support the creation of a “Second Amendment Sanctuary” in Osage County, where the utmost respect would be shown to the gun ownership rights of citizens under the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

In the document, Virden, who is seeking re-election this year, expresses his intent “to oppose any and all infringements on the rights and liberties of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms using such legal means as may be expedient, including, without limitation, court action.” Virden also expresses his opposition to the use of any public money in a way that might be understood as an infringement on gun rights.

He goes on to request the support of the Osage County Board of County Commissioners in creating a “Second Amendment Sanctuary.”

Virden has presented the idea to county commissioners, and said he felt it was well-received. The commissioners have not made a decision on the issue, instead referring it to District Attorney Mike Fisher for review before a decision is made.

Fisher told the Journal-Capital last week that he is not yet ready to make a recommendation to the commissioners on the Second Amendment Sanctuary question. He said that he anticipated needing a little more time.

“I have a couple of concerns I would like to see addressed,” Fisher said, explaining that he is interested in defending Second Amendment liberties, but also wants to make sure public safety is protected.

“We want to make sure all of that comes together properly,” Fisher said.

Virden said he had been contacted by numerous Osage County residents about the possibility of creating a Second Amendment Sanctuary. He added that he fully supports creation of the sanctuary, seeing it as in keeping with his oath of office.

“I’m certainly all about that, because that’s who I am and what I stand for,” he said. Virden said he did not know of any immediate threats in Osage County to anyone’s Second Amendment rights under the U.S. Constitution, but people who had talked with him wanted to get ahead of the issue.

“I’m a Constitutional sheriff. Always have been, always will be,” Virden said. He argued that the right of self-defense is particularly important in a large, rural county like Osage, where a deputy sheriff might have to drive at high speeds for 20-25 minutes in an emergency to reach a citizen facing a threat to life or property.

“I want my citizens to be able to protect themselves,” Virden said.

The popularity of pro-Second Amendment resolutions in Oklahoma, both at the state and local levels, has been increasing — particularly in the past month or so. The intent of such measures is to provide a defense against the enforcement of gun-control laws.