Free Daily Headlines

Politics

Set your text size: A A A

Crowd cheers as commissioners make county a gun rights sanctuary

Mary Hill Henry holds a photo of her grandson, Riley Howell, who was killed by a classroom shooter at UNC Charlotte as he helped prevent more fatalities. Mary Hill Henry holds a photo of her grandson, Riley Howell, who was killed by a classroom shooter at UNC Charlotte as he helped prevent more fatalities.

A capacity crowd filled the Henderson County Board of Commissioners meeting room at the Historic Courthouse on Monday night to advocate for and against a resolution making the county a Second Amendment sanctuary.

The outcome was never in doubt. Gun rights supporters far outnumbered those who opposed the resolution and commissioners unanimously adopted the statement that bars the county from spending public money "in contravention of the mandates" of the North Carolina and U.S. constitutions.

Among those who demonstrated against the proposal was Mary Hill Henry, the grandmother of Riley Howell, the 21-year-old UNC Charlotte student who died after helping to stop a gunman from killing more people. Howell was the son of Natalie Henry Howell, the youngest daughter of Mary Hill Henry, a retired Henderson County teacher who lives in Edneyville.
Henry held a large picture of Riley while John Owens, from the Moms Demand Action gun control group, argued against the Second Amendment resolution.
It appeared that supporters of the resolution far outnumbered opponents.
“This resolution is good,” said Donnie Burnett, a native of Henderson County. “I love being part of a predominantly conservative county. I feel this would even make our forefathers happy that we are reiterating and holding on to their hard work. I feel this is good because I feel this is the right thing for our county.”
He said he and other supporters of the resolution had covered a lot of ground in a short time.
“I want thank you for looking at this and giving your attention to it,” he told commissioners.
County Commission Chairman Grady Hawkins offered the only comment from the elected leaders, in response to remarks by opponents that the resolution would make families less safe.
“Certainly this board has not been contemplating anything that would change any safety rules,” he said.
Hawkins then recognized Commissioner Michael Edney, an attorney, to read a draft resolution supporting the U.S. Constitution and North Carolina constitution, which also guarantees the right to bear arms. The resolution ends by saying that "no public funds, resources, employees, buildings or offices which are under the control and direction of Henderson County shall be used in any manner in contravention of the mandates of said supreme laws of the land."
With no further discussion, the board unanimously adopted the resolution, triggering an enthusiastic standing ovation from several dozen Second Amendment advocates in the audience.