CONCORD — As more North Carolina counties pass resolutions supporting gun rights, one decided earlier this week against calling itself a “Second Amendment Sanctuary,” opting instead to follow the strategy set in Surry County. Now other counties are following that example.
The Cabarrus County Commission unanimously passed what it called a Second Amendment resolution — dropping the word sanctuary — during Tuesday night’s meeting, news outlets reported. Fifteen citizens spoke in favor of the resolution; it’s unclear whether any spoke against it.
Cabarrus County Sheriff Van Shaw said he supports the measure, but doesn’t want people thinking Cabarrus County is a sanctuary for gun owners who don’t have to follow laws, WCNC-TV reported. He said his county will uphold the law while honoring the Second Amendment.
That comes close to the language used by Surry County GOP Chairman Mark Jones, when he was able to secure a Jan. 6 unanimous vote by the Surry County Board of Commissioners, proclaiming Surry County a Constitutional Rights Protection County.
In addressing the local commissioners that night, Jones was able to show the Second Amendment underpinnings for such a move before a packed-house. While a handful of individuals attending that meeting were against the measure — including a couple who addressed the commissioners — the overwhelming majority of those in attendance supported Jones’ request.
After some small tweaking of language, the Surry County commissioners approved the motion that night.
Since then, Jones has been vocal about letting people know this is not what the considered a “sanctuary amendment,” expressing concern that individuals may view the gun rights issue in the same light as cities in other parts of America passing illegal immigration sanctuary resolutions.
“The folks that originated the ‘Second Amendment Sanctuary’ concept were trailblazers with great intentions,” he said in a recent email sent to the local GOP and others in the community. “I am sure they never anticipated that the ‘sanctuary’ concept would become trivialized by the media as it grew. As political debates often evolve through time, I think we need to work very hard to differentiate these concepts.
“I encourage everyone who supports the Second Amendment Protection concept to contact your friends and colleagues in other counties and explain this distinction. I also encourage you to contact the media and encourage separations and discussion about the differences. ‘Sanctuaries’ for criminal illegal aliens are unconstitutional, illegal, dangerous, and illogical. The protection of Second Amendment Rights is constitutional, legal, just, wise, and part of our birthright as American Citizens. These are two very different concepts.”
He added that recent resolutions passed in many counties, including Stokes, Yadkin, and Wilkes, did not use the word “sanctuary.”
At least eight counties in North Carolina have passed measures aimed at protecting gun rights, according to the Associated Press, tough it appears even more may have done so over the past couple of evenings. Such resolutions can vary from county to county, but most declare the intention of local officials to oppose any “unconstitutional restrictions” on the Second Amendment. The measures are largely symbolic, as the supremacy clause of the U.S. Constitution gives federal law precedence over state or local laws.
News outlets report that a similar vote is pending in Gaston County, while in Haywood, commissioners heard Tuesday from the mother of University of North Carolina-Charlotte student Riley Howell, who died last spring after tackling a gunman on campus.
Natalie Henry-Howell asked commissioners and citizens to give the resolution careful thought, and “balance the need for self-protection and the need for the protection of others.”
Her remarks received standing applause from the packed room, WSOC-TV reported. The Haywood County commissioners didn’t vote on the resolution Tuesday, but are expected to consider it at an upcoming meeting.