ALBEMARLE — At its Jan. 21 meeting, the Stanly County Commission voted unanimously to become the 13th “Second Amendment Sanctuary” county in North Carolina.
Commissioner Ashley Morgan announced his intention to bring the resolution on social media, saying in part, “I will be presenting a resolution declaring Stanly County a 2nd Amendment Gun Sanctuary County. I have spoken and worked with our Sheriff on this issue and he fully supports this.”
The public comment period had a half dozen local men get up and address the commission — all in favor of the resolution. Most of the men thanked the commissioners for bringing the resolution, and there was a loud applause from those in attendance after the vote.
The gun sanctuary movement is spreading in reaction to gun laws proposed recently by Virginia Democrats. On Jan. 20, thousands rallied together in Richmond, Virginia, to protest these proposals, which include universal background checks and a statewide ban on “assault firearms.”
“Folks don’t realize it, but we’re one election away from being in the same boat as Virginia,” Commissioner Ashley Morgan told SCJ. “This is us making a statement that Stanly County is going to support our Second Amendment rights. We’re not going to back down from infringement on our constitutional rights.”
The text of the measure resolves that Stanly County “will not authorize or appropriate public funds, resources, employees, agencies, contractors, buildings, or offices to be used to restrict or infringe upon Second Amendment rights or to aid or assist in the enforcement of the unnecessary and unconstitutional restriction or infringement of the rights of the law-abiding citizens of Stanly County to keep and bear arms pursuant to the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution…”
According to Morgan, local politicians can only do so much with the state and federal laws already in place, and this new gun sanctuary resolution is the strongest statement that the commissioners can legally make.
“Just because they make a new state law, it doesn’t necessarily make it correct,” said Morgan. “But ultimately, it would be left up to the courts. This resolution is simply meant to be proactive rather than reactive.”
Last week, Stanly County Sheriff Jeff Crisco was criticized by gun rights advocates on social media for comments he made in the Stanly News & Press saying that as long as hand guns and hunting rifles weren’t affected, that laws against assault rifles would not violate the Second Amendment. Morgan pushed back against that view though.
“I’m against that wholeheartedly. I believe the constitution gives us the right to own ARs [ArmaLite rifles],” said Morgan. “But I know the sheriff has to abide by the law that he was sworn to uphold.”
On Jan. 16, Crisco clarified on the Stanly County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page that, “Should there be any change in the federal law or the North Carolina State law regulating the ‘future’ sale of firearms, the position of the Stanly County Sheriff’s Office is that neither me or any of my deputies will participate in any confiscation of weapons legally purchased by law abiding citizens prior to any new law.”
Similar resolutions have been approved by Beaufort, Cherokee, Cleveland, Davidson, Lincoln, McDowell, Pitt, Rowan, Rutherford, Stokes, Surry and Wilkes counties. Randolph and Gaston counties are considering similar resolutions.
On Jan. 14, the North Carolina House Republican Caucus issued a letter, signed by 50 state representatives, supporting the Second Amendment Sanctuary movement.
North State Journal contributed to this article.