Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Pender Chairman on ‘gun sanctuary’ resolution against infringement of Second Amendment rights

Commissioner George Brown says the resolution, if passed, would be a symbolic message to lawmakers in Raleigh and Washington to leave alone county residents’ constitutional rights to keep and bear arms.

Pender County commissioners will consider passing a resolution establishing the county as a "gun sanctuary". (Port City Daily photo/file photo)
Pender County commissioners will consider passing a resolution establishing the county as a “gun sanctuary”. (Port City Daily photo/file photo)

PENDER COUNTY — A motion will go before the Board of Commissioners Monday night to discuss a resolution establishing Pender County as a “gun sanctuary county” following a rising national movement to protect Second Amendment rights from any state or federal regulations.

Chairman George Brown said the idea came to a fellow member of the board after Cherokee County passed a similar motion earlier in the month. If the resolution passes, Pender would become the state’s second county to declare itself a gun sanctuary.

“Every now and then, commissioners feel like they need to take a stand on something, and I think this is one of those times,” Brown said. “This is symbolic. We’re just letting the state legislature and the lawmakers in Washington know that we really do not want you to infringe anymore on our Second Amendment rights.”

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Although he didn’t refer to any recent legislative actions occurring at the local or state level, Brown pointed to a growing political climate in Washington, where “socialism seems to be taking a seat now,” as a basis for the measure. The county’s large population of gun owners and hunters, he predicted, would support the motion.

The “Gun sanctuary movement”

In recent months a growing number of rural towns and counties in Washington, Oregon, New Mexico, Colorado, and Illinois have joined the “gun sanctuary movement” to combat state and federal gun-control laws. A report by the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, published in December, revealed that 67 new gun control measures passed in 26 states since the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

Brown said that although he feels sympathy for victims of mass shootings, he urged people on both sides of an emotional argument to stay focused on constitutional rights.

“In the passion of all these emotions surrounding the [mass shootings] that are happening, let’s not lose focus on the people responsible, and not infringe on the rights of everyone,” Brown said.

The proposed resolution, which Brown said was a duplicate of Cherokee County’s — except for the county name — states that the “criminal misuse of firearms is due to the fact that criminals do not obey laws, and this is not a reason to abrogate or abridge the unalienable, constitutionally-guaranteed rights of law-abiding citizens.”

The resolution “states and accepts as true” 18 statements related to constitutional rights to bear arms and Supreme Court decisions that affirm those rights.

Brown said he recognized that some may perceive the term “gun sanctuary” in a negative light but said the measure’s main purpose would be to send a symbolic measure to legislators. Monday’s discussion will allow commissioners a chance to discuss the resolution and modify its language before approval, he said.

Brown also predicted the movement to continue to spread.

“I think you’ll see other counties do this, especially in rural areas, who say, ‘Respect our right to keep and bear arms. You might do some silly things [in Washington] but you don’t have the right to change this.”

The Board of Commissioners meeting will take place Monday, April 1 at 4 p.m. in the Public Assembly Room at 805 South Walker Street in Burgaw.


Mark Darrough can be reached at Mark@Localvoicemedia.com

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