By Jill Penley
In the wake of endless discussions centered around gun ownership, violence, and rights, “Second Amendment Sanctuary” counties and cities are popping up across the country, including several counties in East Tennessee. The Tennessee counties desiring to declare themselves as “Second Amendment Sanctuary” counties have been passing resolutions to attempt to protect gun control laws.
“Second Amendment sanctuary refers to resolutions adopted by some jurisdictions in the United States to not expend resources to enforce certain gun control measures perceived as violative of the Second Amendment.”
Of course, the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution authorizes “the right of the people to keep and bear arms,” and states this right “shall not be infringed.”
Across the nation, states and regions vary significantly in reported gun violence, as well as in the traditions and cultures of lawful gun use.
For this reason, coupled with feeling the pressure to do something to prevent deadly mass shootings, federal legislators began focusing on the ban of so-called “assault weapons,” in addition to imposing universal background checks.
“Red flag” laws, also known as “extreme risk protection orders” or gun violence restraining orders, were then added to the mix, muddying the whole “gun rights” issue. “Red flag” laws, already in place in at least 17 states, allow courts to issue orders to temporarily confiscate the firearms of individuals deemed to be a risk to others or themselves.
Pro-gun advocates fear these types of laws will lead to wrongful confiscation.
Last month, Sullivan County commissioners passed a resolution declaring Sullivan County, a Second Amendment Sanctuary county, and neighboring Carter County passed a similar resolution back in June.
“I think really is in response to the talk that started over the last two years about the state or either the federal government or both enacting extreme risk protection orders that are commonly referred to as red flag laws,” said John Harris, executive director of the Tennessee Firearm Association.
The Johnson County Board of Commissioners is expected to discuss the issue on Thursday evening’s monthly board meeting. County Attorney Perry Stout will likely reference a failed state bill, Senate Bill 1178, dubbed a “Red Flag Bill,” which would allow someone to file a petition for an order of “extreme risk protection” against another person that could prohibit that person from purchasing a firearm or ammunition.
Originally, sanctuary cities were places where laws were passed in which local law enforcement agencies and governments would not enforce federal immigration laws; however, in the majority of cases, federal law overrides any state or local laws, making it more of a symbolic measure than anything else.