Should Warren County be designated as a Second Amendment sanctuary to join other counties that have done the same?
The county Policy and Personnel Committee met Tuesday to consider a resolution declaring Warren County to be a Second Amendment sanctuary county. Members in attendance were Commissioners Tommy Savage, Steve Glenn, Ron Lee and Tyrone Sparkman.
Also known as a gun sanctuary, the term refers to states, counties, or localities in the United States that have adopted resolutions to show their support for the Second Amendment and discontentment for any state or federal law that seeks to violate that right.
Commissioner Scott Rubley, who requested the county consider passing this resolution, says it is simply a show of support for the Second Amendment and has no legal standing.
“There are some states that are having problems right now,” said Rubley. “This is trying to be proactive instead of reactive. All this does is send a message to the state that this county supports the Second Amendment. That’s basically all this does. We don’t have any teeth. We don’t have any regulatory authority over the state.”
If approved, Warren County would join an estimated 16 others in Tennessee and more than 200 across the United States.
The political statement does not mean Warren County is exempt from any state law regarding ownership of guns, but it does urge the state not to pass such laws that might infringe on that right.
“The Red Flag legislation that has taken place in Virginia bypasses due process completely,” said Rubley, who pointed to that legislation as why communities are showing support for the Second Amendment.
Virginia’s gun control law permits police or family members to petition a state court to order the temporary removal of firearms from a person who may present a danger to others or themselves. Considered a special type of protection order, if issued it allows law enforcement to temporarily confiscate that person’s firearms. The order also bars that person from purchasing additional guns.
Opponents of Red Flag Laws say it violates due process because the Constitution mandates that no one shall be “deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law.” Seizing the property of individuals who have been convicted of no crime violates this provision.
Commissioner Robert Hennessee says the Virginia law is proactive to prevent harm and not reactive after someone has been harmed.
“To my understanding, the way the legislation is read, if someone is on social media or a family member or somebody in society sees that this person is a threat to themselves or someone else, or has come out and assaulted someone, that’s sort of what the language says, the authorities are allowed to go into that person’s residence and confiscate their firearms on a temporary basis until they can find out if this person is competent enough to carry a firearm.”
Per statistics, thousands of children and teens in the United States are killed by guns each year. Firearms are the second leading cause of death among American children and adolescents, after car crashes.
“Tennessee is No. 4 in the nation right now when it comes to children being killed by a firearm,” said Hennessee. “Do you know how many kids have died so far this year? Twenty-four. We are fourth in the nation. Since the Columbine tragedy happened in 1999, there have been 28 other schools that have been infiltrated with firearms and assault weapons. Children are dying across our nation.”
In attendance was local resident Jeremy McCormick.
“There were more people killed with hammers and blunt objects last year alone than with firearms,” said McCormick. “We aren’t over at Walmart jerking hammers off the shelves.”
Policy and Personnel Committee members unanimously approved designating Warren County as a Second Amendment Sanctuary. The resolution will be presented to the Warren County Commission on Feb. 18 during its monthly session which begins at 6:30 p.m.