Sullivan set to be a 'Second Amendment Sanctuary County'

J. H. Osborne • Nov 15, 2019 at 7:32 AM

BLOUNTVILLE — If you’ve worried about potential “red flag laws” keeping you from owning a gun, the Sullivan County Commission aims to have you covered.

Commissioners Hunter Locke and Gary Stidham are the lead sponsors of a resolution “declaring support for the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution.” It is all but certain to be approved by the commission next week.

At a work session Thursday, no one objected to placing the resolution on the commission’s consent agenda for the business meeting next week. Items on the consent agenda are not voted on individually, and for the consent agenda to gain approval, the vote on it must be unanimous. Typically, if someone has doubts they’ll vote for a resolution, they voice discontent when a sponsor seeks to have it placed there.

Locke said they brought the issue forward to send a message to state lawmakers that Sullivan County is opposed to “extreme risk protection orders,” also known as “red flag laws.”

Locke and Stidham’s resolution notes the Tennessee General Assembly, during its 2019 session, considered and referred to committees for further study a proposed state law that would authorize extreme risk protection orders. It goes on to explain an extreme risk protection order “means an order, in writing, signed by the court, prohibiting and enjoining a named person from having the person’s custody or control, owning, purchasing, possessing or receiving, any firearm or ammunition.”

The resolution has multiple co-sponsors and has been endorsed by the commission’s executive and administrative committees.

It cites several points of case law and Article I, Section 26 of the Tennessee Constitution: “That the citizens of this state have a right to keep and to bear arms for their common defenses; but the Legislature shall have power, by law, to regulate the wearing of arms with a view to prevent crime.”

The resolution ultimately calls for the Sullivan County Commission to declare the county to be a “Second Amendment Sanctuary County,” meaning that it will “provide safe haven and protect the United States Constitution and the 2nd Amendment rights of law-abiding Sullivan County citizens from infringement.”

Locke said similar resolutions have been distributed to other local governing bodies across the state.