MONROE – In Virginia, many counties have declared themselves “Second Amendment sanctuaries” in response to the state legislature’s proposal of firearm restrictions. Some counties in North Carolina have followed suit.
On Jan. 21, Union County became the fifth county in North Carolina to officially declare itself as a sanctuary for Second Amendment rights. It joins Rutherford, Cherokee, Surry and Lincoln counties.
General Counsel Jason Kay said Catawba and Gaston counties will also consider this resolution.
Kay said four states have declared themselves Second Amendment sanctuary states, as have 228 counties spread over 18 additional states.
According to Kay, the resolution does two things: make two declarations of principle and three declarations of intent.
The declarations of principle are to declare support for the Second Amendment rights of all Union County citizens and to declare a standing concern and opposition to any law that would unlawfully and unconstitutionally restrict Second Amendment rights.
The first declaration of intent is broadly to uphold Second Amendment rights. The other two are a bit more involved, Kay said. One is “to declare an intent to guard against the use of Union County funds, property, resources and other items to unnecessarily and unconstitutionally restrict Second Amendment rights.” The last declaration of intent is “to prevent aiding or assisting in the enforcement of unnecessary and unconstitutional restrictions of Second Amendment rights.”
Commissioner Frank Aikmus asked the resolution to be drafted after observing the events in Virginia on the news. He quoted Sam Adams, who said the Constitution should not be construed to prevent law-abiding citizens of the United States from keeping their arms.
“Unfortunately, in the world we live in today, not everyone shares this opinion,” Aikmus said. “The resolution that we are discussing this afternoon simply states that as the duly elected representation of the people of Union County, we are concerned about the passage of any bill or legislation that can be interpreted as infringing the rights of Union County citizens to keep and bear arms or anything which may restrict the ability to do so.”
Aikmus said by passing the resolution, the board would declare a deep commitment to “stand resolute against political winds” and protect the rights of their citizens to keep and bear arms. They would also openly oppose any law that would unconstitutionally take those rights away.
Commissioner Richard Helms supported Aikmus’s initiative to bring the resolution forward. He said when he joined the U.S. Air Force in 1964, he made a commitment to the Constitution.
“That commitment doesn’t expire,” Helms said.
Helms also said when the board was sworn in, they made a commitment to the Constitution. He said passing this resolution would “affirm the obvious.”
Though Sheriff Eddie Cathey could not be present at the county commission meeting, Chief Deputy Todd Elmore spoke on his behalf in full support of the resolution.
Elmore said the Union County Sheriff’s Office would not confiscate the arms of citizens who lawfully owned them.
The board voted unanimously to pass the resolution.
“This is something that if you don’t think we need it in these days and times, then you need to take another look at the news and watch what’s going on,” Commissioner Stony Rushing said.