Gun rights supported

Published 6:29 pm Friday, February 7, 2020

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GATESVILLE – With Second Amendment rights under attack across America – to include from state and federal legislative entities – the Gates County Board of Commissioners have reaffirmed their belief in the United States Constitution and Bill of Rights.

At their regularly scheduled meeting here Monday, the commissioners, after hearing from several county citizens who vigorously proclaimed their backing of gun rights as currently spelled out in the Constitution, unanimously approved a resolution that declared their support of the Second Amendment.

There was lengthy discussion among the commissioners, especially along the lines of adding words to the resolution such as sanctuary, refuge and referencing Gates as a constitutional rights protection county. In the end, the board united in support of the resolution as presented and approved it on a motion and second from Commissioners Jack Owens and Linda Hofler respectively.

In part, the resolution reads:

“Whereas the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states, “A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; and

Whereas, the U.S. Supreme Court has, through multiple rulings, upheld an individual’s rights to keep and bear arms when federal, state and local laws have sought to restrict this right; and

Whereas, the Gates County Board of Commissioners is concerned about any effort by the North Carolina General Assembly or the U.S. Congress to enact legislation infringing upon a citizen’s individual right to possess a firearm, and use a firearm for traditionally lawful purposes; and

Whereas, the Gates County Board of Commissioners wishes to express its deep commitment in protecting all Constitutional rights and stands opposed to any law, regulation or other act that would unconstitutionally infringe on a citizen’s Second Amendment rights, and

Therefore, be it resolved, the Gates County Board of Commissioners declares that Gates County government will use all powers and authority to defend and protect the rights of all of our citizens.”

“We’re trying to get ahead of what’s going on in Virginia (where several restrictive gun laws are in the works) and not let it trickle down here,” said Owens.

“This is a good idea for us to stand united across our state,” said Commissioner Linda Hofler.

Commissioner Jonathan Jones suggested possibly adding sanctuary/refuge or deeming Gates as a constitutional rights protection county. That prompted newly seated Commissioner Dr. Althea Riddick to say that before she could agree to add any words to the resolution she needed an exact definition of those words and how they would fit into the context of the resolution.

“I feel it’s very well written as it was presented,” Riddick said. “I support this resolution.”

Jones eventually dropped his idea for the added words.

“Our (board) clerk did a lot of research on this issue and came up with this resolution; I support it as it currently reads,” stated board chairman Ray Freeman.

Earlier in the meeting, during public comment, several county citizens applauded the commissioners for taking a firm position in support of gun rights.

“It’s not my intent to stand up here today and give a passionate speech on how much I love my guns and how much I disagree with someone attempting to take them away,” said Brian Saunders of Eure. “My intent is to stand with the governing body of Gates County to remind us all what our forefathers fought for during the establishment of this country.

“Today, we are seeing our Bill of Rights, our personal liberties, under attack,” Saunders continued. “I ask that Gates County take a stand against any acts that infringe upon these rights. If we lay down our fight this time, how many more of our rights will be attacked in the future? Our liberties in general are at stake.”

Erna Bright of Sunbury thanked the commissioners for “taking a big step in the right direction.”

“Don’t be influenced by billionaires who are trying to buy our rights,” Bright stressed to the board. “All the problems we face today are not necessarily because someone has a gun. My gun stays in my cabinet when I’m not deer hunting. My gun has never killed a deer without it being with me.

“We are law-abiding citizens; we do what we are supposed to do,” Bright added. “We know when we point our firearms where that bullet is going, how far it’s going to drop. If the government or certain people on the fringe side take our rights, you can rest assured that guns are not the only thing they want to take; they don’t want you to go to church and worship God. Those things will follow as history always repeats itself.”

Carol Ward of Sunbury supported the resolution, but expressed a desire for the commissioners to delay taking action for 30 days to allow for additional public input.

The commissioners did briefly entertain the idea of a 30-day delay, but after Hofler and Riddick said they were ready to approve the resolution at Monday’s meeting, the measure moved forward and was adopted by a 5-0 vote.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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