In 1607, the first American colony was founded in Jamestown, Va. The colony was established by individuals seeking sanctuary from religious persecution in their home country of England. Out of this idea of individual freedom, the United States of America was born.

Throughout history, America has been a beacon of liberty to anyone seeking freedom and a better life. New York harbor is home to the Statue of Liberty, the first sight many immigrants would see after its dedication in 1886. In her left hand, Lady Liberty holds a tablet inscribed with "JULY IV MDCCLXXVI," the date the Declaration of Independence was signed. America was created by individuals who came here and explored this great country seeking fortunes and opportunity.

This spirit continued as Americans made their way west, across the Great Plains and through the daunting Rocky Mountains. The exploration and settling of this country was filled with danger, hardship and loss of life, but people persisted, seeking their dreams in an environment that gave them the freedom to do so. American history tells the tales of great explorers, battles, triumphs and tribulations. We experienced the gold rush and western expansion. The industrial revolution and everything that came from it.

America has seen periods of greatness, beginning with our battle for independence, but America also has many dark periods in her history. America’s history has been turbulent, but one thing has always held true — a foundation built on liberty and opportunity.

Recently we have been hearing a lot about the possible threat that immigrants pose, particularly at our southern border. Great controversy over the building of a wall has many of us fiercely divided. Sanctuary cities have become a reality within America. Sanctuary cities are most commonly known as places of refuge for undocumented immigrants who hope to escape deportation.

However, recently another type of sanctuary city has been making itself known around the country. These cities and counties are becoming sanctuaries for gun rights and gun owners. As many as 10 counties in Oregon have measures on their ballots this year to declare themselves sanctuaries for gun rights. Their proposals would allow the sheriffs of the counties to determine if state and federal gun laws are constitutional and prevent resources from being used to enforce them if they are not. In Illinois, a number of counties have declared themselves sanctuary counties, using the word "sanctuary" defiantly as it has come to be associated with liberal policies that ignore state and federal immigration laws to shelter those who come to this country illegally.

The resolutions are intended to send a message to the Democrat-controlled legislatures that if gun control legislation is passed, these counties will instruct employees to ignore the new unconstitutional laws. Several counties in New Mexico have also passed resolutions declaring themselves Second Amendment sanctuary counties. Again, we see these resolutions arising in response to proposed gun control legislation.

All across the country, we see rural America standing up to the wave of overreaching leftist legislation that initiates in places and from people that have no idea what life is really like in the rural parts of America.

Colorado is filled with small towns, farmers, ranchers and those who choose to live off the beaten path; people for whom guns have always been a way of life. Colorado was founded by explorers with a love of freedom and adventure. It is home to the eighth most heavily armed county in America, a county of approximately 25,000 individuals, where more than half own guns. The western sensibility and love of freedom is alive and well in rural Colorado. Things are different here and we want to keep it that way.

While the idea of Second Amendment sanctuaries is refreshing and perhaps necessary, shouldn’t we be more concerned with the fact that they are needed? If we need special designated areas where we can engage in our constitutionally protected rights, don’t we have a bigger problem on our hands? What’s next, First Amendment areas and free speech zones? Oh wait....

As Libertarians, we seek a world of liberty: a world in which all individuals are sovereign over their own lives and are not forced to sacrifice their values for the benefit of others. Liberty belongs to all, not just current popular ideology.

Bonnie Pyle is a Libertarian living in Teller County. She’s a passionate about fitness and animal rescue, and  is an avid outdoor adventurer.