RUTHERFORDTON, N.C. (WLOS) — Rutherford County commissioners have taken a stand for the right to bear arms, declaring the county a "Second Amendment Sanctuary."
The resolution has no governing power, but it’s a public statement commissioners think represents the voice of the voters who voted them into office. The move is meant to push back against any potential federal gun control.
In a rural county that's 566 square miles, Sheriff Chris Francis welcomes the resolution commissioners passed Monday.
"I think the people have been concerned, especially by the federal government, believing the federal government will come and take their guns," Francis said. "You have to understand, in the South and especially in rural areas, you have to protect yourself. And I'm not talking about vigilantism, but being able to defend yourself. I truly believe the Second Amendment means a lot to Western North Carolina."
Tiffany McEntyre, who’s lived in the county about six years, said she supports the commission's stand.
"I think it's important for people to have the option to bear arms," McEntyre said.
Michelle and Fred Hafezi, who were looking for a retirement home in the area, weren't so keen on the county's move.
"I'm not a big supporter of gun rights anyway," Michelle Hafezi, a former teacher, said.
She called the move a "little bit inappropriate."
"They need to back away a little bit," she said.
Former county Democratic party chairman Mark Brown said the gun rights resolution was something he couldn't take seriously.
"The county commissioners have no jurisdiction whatsoever in these matters," he said.
"I think you could proclaim, 'Now it's OK for everybody in Rutherford County to breathe oxygen,' and, officially, there will be no penalties if we are breathing oxygen either in our houses or freely walking down the street."
Text of the resolution declaring Rutherford County a Second Amendment sanctuary:
WHEREAS, the Constitution of the United States is the Supreme Law of our nation; and
WHEREAS, the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America 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"; and
WHEREAS, the North Carolina Constitution, Article I, Section 30, 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; and, as standing armies in time of peace are dangerous to liberty, they shall not be maintained, and the military shall be kept under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power. Nothing herein shall justify the practice of carrying concealed weapons, or prevent the General Assembly from enacting penal statutes against that practice; and
WHEREAS, the Rutherford County Board of Commissioners is concerned about the passage of any bill or legislation which could be interpreted as infringing the rights of the citizens of Rutherford County to keep and bear arms or which may unduly restrict their right to the same; and
WHEREAS, the criminal misuse of firearms is not a reason to infringe the rights of law abiding citizens of Rutherford County; and
WHEREAS, the Rutherford County Board of Commissioners wishes to express its deep commitment to the rights of all citizens of Rutherford County to keep and bear arms; and
WHEREAS, the Rutherford County Board of Commissioners wishes to express opposition to any law that would unconstitutionally restrict the rights under the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and under the North Carolina constitution of the citizens of Rutherford County to keep and bear arms; and
WHEREAS, the Rutherford County Board of Commissioners wishes to express its intent to stand as a Sanctuary County for Second Amendment rights and to oppose, within the limits of the Constitutions of the United States and the State of North Carolina, any efforts to unconstitutionally restrict such rights, and to use such legal means at its disposal to protect the rights of the citizens to keep and bear arms.
NOW, THEREFORE, be it resolved by the Board of Commissioners of Rutherford County:
That the Rutherford County Board of Commissioners hereby expresses its intent to uphold the Second Amendment rights of the citizens of Rutherford County and that public funds, resources, employees, buildings or offices not be used to restrict Second Amendment rights or to aid or assist in the enforcement of the unnecessary and unconstitutional restriction of the rights under the Second Amendment of the citizens of Rutherford County to keep and bear arms; and
That the Board of Commissioners hereby declares Rutherford County, North Carolina, as a ‘Second Amendment Sanctuary.”
Adopted this the 1st day of July, 2019.