The right to bear arms: Stephens County now a Second Amendment Sanctuary

Stephens County, with a unanimous vote by county commissioners, became the second county in Georgia to officially adopt a “Second Amendment Sanctuary County” resolution.

Last week, neighboring Habersham County adopted a Second Amendment Sanctuary County resolution, and Franklin County officials are currently considering a similar resolution. More than 400 municipalities and counties in 21 states have adopted similar resolutions.


At the Stephens County Board of Commissioners annual planning session, held Friday, Jan. 17, board Chairman Dennis Bell moved to adopt a resolution mirroring the Habersham resolution, formally identifying Stephens County as a “Second Amendment Sanctuary County” and detailing the county’s policy regarding compliance with any federal gun control legislation. The motion was unanimously approved (5-0) with limited discussion or comments by board members.


According to the resolution, county officials “affirms its support for the Stephens County Sheriff in the exercise of his sound discretion to not enforce against any citizen an unconstitutional firearms law,” and formalizes the intent to not “provide material support or participate in any way with the implementation of federal acts, orders, rules, laws or regulations in violation of the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution” or “authorize or appropriate funds, resources, employees, agencies, contractors, buildings, detention centers or offices for the purpose of enforcing or assisting in the enforcement of any element of any acts, laws, orders, mandates, rules or regulations that infringe on the right by the people to keep and bear arms.”


While a duly adopted resolution is a formal action by the board, a resolution does not carry the same legal ramifications or weight as an ordinance, County Administrator Phyllis Ayers said when asked by ConnectLocal.News about the legal differences between a resolution and an ordinance. Ordinances become part of the county’s official Code, and are a county’s “law,” she said, explaining that an ordinance doesn’t necessarily have the same “teeth” that an ordinance does, and could be considered an official statement of support or policy, as opposed to a law.


Due to the out-of-area obligations and court schedules of officials, ConnectLocal.News was unable to speak with Stephens County Sheriff Randy Shirley, Board of Commission Chairman Dennis Bell or County Attorney Brian Ranck prior to publication, but will be meeting with all three officials to discuss several legal and procedural points regarding the new Sanctuary County status. ConnectLocal.News will providing citizens with an in-depth look at the laws, legal cases, state policies and other related matters in a follow-up article in the coming days.


Full text of Stephens County’s adopted Sanctuary County resolution:


RESOLUTION


TO DECLARE STEPHENS COUNTY, GEORGIA TO BE A “SECOND AMENDMENT SANCTUARY COUNTY”


RESOLUTION NO. 2020-07

Whereas, the Board of the County Commissioners of Stephens County, Georgia being elected to represent the People of Stephens County, Georgia and being duly sworn by oath to uphold the United States Constitution and the Constitution of the State of Georgia, and;


Whereas, the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States reads as follows: “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 United States Supreme Court has affirmed an individual’s right to possess firearms, unconnected with service in the militia, for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home (District of Columbia v. Heller (2008)), and;


Whereas, the United States Supreme Court has affirmed that the right of an individual to “keep and bear arms,” is protected under the Second Amendment and is incorporated by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment against the states (McDonald v. Chicago (2010)), and;


Whereas, the United States Supreme Court has affirmed that the federal government of the United States cannot compel state law enforcement officers to enforce federal laws (Prinz v. United States (1997)), and;


Whereas, Article I, Section I, Paragraph VII of the Constitution of the State of Georgia, entitled “Arms, right to keep and bear,” provides that “[t]he right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, but the General Assembly shall have power to prescribe the manner in which arms may be borne, and;


Whereas O.C.G.A. 1-2-6 (a)(9) lists the right to keep and bear arms among the rights of the citizens of the State of Georgia that are without limitation, and;


Whereas, all federal acts, laws, orders, rules or regulations regarding firearms, firearm accessories, and ammunitions are a violation of the Second Amendment and Article 1, Section I, Paragraph VII of the Constitution of the State of Georgia and are contrary to the original intent of those provisions, and;


Whereas, the citizens of Stephens County, Georgia regard the right of people to keep and bear arms for defense of life, liberty and property as an inalienable right of the people, and;

Whereas, the citizens of Stephens County, Georgia derive economic and social benefit from all safe forms of firearms recreation, hunting and shooting conducted within Stephens County, and;


Whereas, it is the desire of the Stephens County Board of Commissioners to declare its support of the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution and to the provisions of the Constitution of the State of Georgia that protect Stephens County citizens’ individual, inalienable rights to keep and bear arms,


Now, therefore, be it resolved by the Stephens County Board of Commissioners, duly assembled this Adopted this 17th day of January, 2020. that the Stephens County be, and hereby is, declared to be a “Second Amendment Sanctuary County,” and;


Be it further resolved that the Stephens County Board of Commissioners affirms its support for the Stephens County Sheriff in the exercise of his sound discretion to not enforce against any citizen an unconstitutional firearms law, and


Be it further resolved that no agent, employee or official of Stephens County, or any corporation providing services to Stephens County, shall provide material support or participate in any way with the implementation of federal acts, orders, rules, laws or regulations in violation of the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution; and


Be it further resolved that the Stephens County Board of Commissioners will not authorize or appropriate funds, resources, employees, agencies, contractors, buildings, detention centers or offices for the purpose of enforcing or assisting in the enforcement of any element of any acts, laws, orders, mandates, rules or regulations that infringe on the right by the people to keep and bear arms, and;


Be it further resolved, that all federal acts, laws, orders, rules, regulations that violate the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States or Article I, Section I, Paragraph VIII of the Constitution of the State of Georgia, violate the true meaning and intent of those constitutions and are hereby declared to be invalid and are specifically rejected in Stephens County, Georgia and shall be considered null and void and of no effect in Stephens County, Georgia.


Adopted this 17th day of January, 2020.


#guns #constitution #rights #sanctuary #stephenscounty

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