Haywood County Second Amendment Sanctuary Resolution

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 10 months ago

Haywood County, North Carolina, is considering a second amendment sanctuary resolution.  Collectivists are everywhere, even in the mountains of North Carolina.

Sometimes when the topic of gun rights comes up, people pick a side and put blinders on. In general there seems to be no room for compromise, let alone any listening with an open mind to what someone from the opposite side has to say.

But like in so many other ways, Haywood County is a special place where people find ways to overcome obstacles and work through issues.

That was on full display Tuesday evening when the county commissioner meeting room in the Historic Courthouse was jam-packed with people — most of whom were speaking up during a public comment session to ask that Haywood become a gun sanctuary county.

This is when a state or local government body passes a resolution indicating their support for the Second Amendment. Some resolutions resolve to not enforce gun control measures county leaders perceive as violating Second Amendment rights guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution.

There were about three dozen speakers, with the vast majority urging the commissioners to become a gun sanctuary county.

But there was a moment in the meeting when views seemed to soften just a bit. All in the room gave Haywood native Natalie Henry Howell a standing ovation when she asked for consideration of two gun control measures that may have saved the life of her son, Riley, who died during a school shooting at UNC-Charlotte after tackling the shooter and saving who knows how many other lives.

Riley was shot with rounds 13 through 18 from an extended magazine by a person with diminished mental capacity who should never have been able to own a gun, Howell told the crowd.

“I just want us to give some careful thought on whether or not that’s something we want out there,” Howell said. “The other thing I’d like to give careful thought to is tighter background checks, because I’m not real sure I understand why someone who says they want responsible gun ownership wouldn’t be for background checks that are thorough.”

The Howell family has long made it clear that Riley enjoyed target practice and that their stance is not to undermine the Second Amendment.

“We are not saying no to guns. There are just some things we can and need to do better,” Howell said in an earlier interview. “I hear people say ‘This won’t help’ or ‘That won’t help’ and I say ‘Well, OK, no single measure will end this gun violence epidemic, but it’s a start and will save lives.’”

Ironically, many of the Second Amendment sanctuary resolutions adopted by state or local government bodies advocate not enforcing laws viewed as limiting gun rights in any way. The wording raises questions.

Many speaking at the commissioner meeting said the resolution simply sends a message of support for Second Amendment rights, and there’s certainly nothing wrong with that — or with expanding that message to include all the freedoms guaranteed in the Bill of Rights. But as always, the devil is in the details.

[ … ]

Would a sanctuary resolution raise questions about laws passed by duly elected state and federal governing bodies, but not adjudicated through the court? What about laws upheld by our court system such as prohibiting felons from owning a gun or background checks?

Messages can be sent in multiple ways. There are risks to adopting a resolution worded in a way that could put locally elected officials in a position of picking and choosing what laws to enforce, which should be downright scary to those who believe in our form of government here in the United States. Additionally, withholding county resources from enforcing certain laws, as some of the gun sanctuary resolutions suggest, could set the county up for a lawsuit.

The commissioners all voiced support for gun rights, and all of them indicated they are gun users. They also indicated they are willing to adopt something, but want to be careful of how it is worded.

Well now, this is rich in detail, yes?  I think we all needed to know these things and I see her commentary as profoundly helpful.

The Howell family’s argument is an appeal to emotion, an attempt to garner sympathy from their tragic loss, and (the way I look at it) an inappropriate appeal to the life of their son.  Riley was “shot with rounds 13 through 18 from an extended magazine by a person with diminished mental capacity who should never have been able to own a gun.”

So we might point out that Riley could have been killed with a single round, and thus there is no difference between a single shot rifle and any other.  Furthermore, it would have been better for Riley, despite his heroic actions, to have been armed.  Rather than lobbying for limitations on magazine capacity, she should have been arguing against “gun-free” zones, which are never really free of guns, just free of gun-carrying law abiding citizens.

But more to the point, this isn’t in the least related to the resolution before the County Commissioners.  It’s a misdirect.  The task before them is to adopt the second amendment sanctuary resolution or reject it.  To that issue, I’d like to make some observations (and send this to each member of the county board of commissioners).  The board is made up of Kevin EnsleyBrandon C. Rogers, J. W. “Kirk” Kirkpatrick III, Tommy Long, and Mark Pless.

This is no small matter you’re taking up.  If you’re scared of lawsuits and things not being adjudicated through the courts, you need a gut check and review of your world and life view rather than a vote on this resolution.    Passing this resolution with the thought that you’re making some sort of “symbolic statement” is not just dishonest, but dangerous.

These sorts of resolutions have been passed before in various places, only to later learn that the county wasn’t serious about them and had no intention of using assets to enforce them, with the result that county residents who believed them were taken before federal courts for violating laws governing things like ownership of suppressors without having submitted approval to the ATF.

It is the worst sort of thing you can do, to set up your constituency for failure because they believed you, when you were actually making “statements,” or worse, telling lies for the sake of convenience or reelection.  You see, this resolution is before you because your constituency knows that the second amendment is under attack.  Adjudication through the courts has helped to get us where we are today rather than stopping or slowing it.

When the second amendment resolution passed in Lincoln County, the chairman of the board of commissioners said “If the state or even the federal government comes down with additional regulations, it’s gonna say that Lincoln County is not gonna come forth with that and it’s gonna be hard to take guns in Lincoln County.”  And said this: “If it comes to pass that they want to infringe upon the people’s rights to carry guns, it’s going to be a bad day for somebody.”

It sounds to me like she’s serious and knows what she believes.  Sheriff Mack, founder and president of the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, had this to say about things.

“A lot of those sanctuary cities and counties across the country don’t go far enough,” said Mack. “What do you do if they still come in and try to take law abiding citizens’ guns? [The sheriffs] need to actually intervene and interpose and not let it happen.”

You see, people like this are committed.  They know that the board of county commissioners must be on the side of liberty.  They know that the Sheriff and his deputies must be in agreement, and they know that the county attorney must also be on board.  Otherwise, it’s like the opinion pages of the Greensboro News & Record, saying, “To a large degree, these resolutions are harmless. They break no laws, nor do they change any laws. If they provide some degree of comfort to local residents, more power to them. Gun violence is regularly in the news these days, and we could all use a little comforting.”

If you see yourself as passing “harmless resolutions that comfort people,” then you should stand down now.  But if you see yourselves as an essential cog in the liberty machinery of America, and are seriously committed to the fight, I commend this resolution to you.

Either way, as long as you’re being honest about things, my readers in your county will know where you stand.

UPDATE: Gaston County, N.C., is also considering a 2A resolution soon.  I just penned a letter to them, encouraging their acceptance of the resolution, but with the same stipulations of seriousness.

UPDATE #2:  Mr. Tracy Philbeck, Chairman of the Gaston County Board of Commissioners, sends this article in response.

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  1. On January 27, 2020 at 5:22 am, Duke Norfolk said:

    “All in the room gave Haywood native Natalie Henry Howell a standing ovation”

    in other words, all in the room showed that they were able to be manipulated by the sad story of a woman. A story that is intended to make them turn off their reasoning brains and emote (and no doubt did so). Until men return to being men (following the great example of Sheriff Mack), we are going to continue this slide.

  2. On January 27, 2020 at 9:21 am, Jim Wiseman said:

    Caldwell County is also to vote on a resolution on February 3. One commissioner has indicated that the prohibition of concealed carry in county buildings will remain in place, which tells me the commissioners don’t trust the citizens, and they aren’t really serious about their support for the right to keep and bear arms. This commissioner has also said that county law doesn’t override state law, which makes the resolution a waste of time. So while one side is deadly serious about taking away our means of defense, the other side is playing politics and pandering for votes.

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This article is filed under the category(s) Second Amendment and was published January 26th, 2020 by Herschel Smith.

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