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Henderson County poised to become Second Amendment sanctuary

Declaring support for the right to bear arms, Henderson County commissioners are poised to join the growing list of elected officials making their county a "Second Amendment Sanctuary."

A resolution on the county commission's agenda Monday night expresses broad support for the North Carolina and U.S. constitutions, and goes on to single out the Second Amendment and order that the county may expend no public money "in contravention of the mandates" of the state and national constitutions. Numerous counties in Tennessee and Virginia have become so-called "Second Amendment sanctuaries" in response to movements seeking tighter gun control and measures like red flag laws, that would allow law enforcement authorities to confiscate firearms from people deemed a threat.

Henderson County Commission Vice Chair Bill Lapsley said Thursday that after a constituent brought the matter to the county, Chairman Grady Hawkins circulated the idea among commissioners and received unanimous support for moving ahead with the resolution. County Attorney Russ Burrell drafted the "Resolution Reconfirming that Henderson County will support and maintain the Constitution of the United States."

The Second Amendment provides that, "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."

While “Second Amendment sanctuary” counties have proliferated in surrounding states, the political statement has just recently begun getting traction in North Carolina. Cherokee and Rutherford counties have adopted pro-Second Amendment resolutions.

North Carolina's constitution echoes the Second Amendment of the Bill of Rights. The resolution before the Henderson County Board of Commissioners cites a state Supreme Court ruling that strongly upheld individuals' right to have a firearm. "For any lawful purpose — either of business or amusement — the citizen is at perfect liberty to carry his gun," the state's highest court said.