A sparsely populated mountain county in North Carolina has declared itself a “gun sanctuary county” and intends to defy attempts by federal or state government to enforce strict gun control measures.
Cherokee County passed the three-page resolution with a slim 3-2 vote, after resolution author Dan Eichenbaum told fellow commissioners that the “first thing dictators do is confiscate guns,” reported the Cherokee Scout.
Pender County, on the North Carolina coast, is considering a vote on a similar gun sanctuary policy in April, according to documents posted b the Pender County board of commissioners.
Among the provisions passed in Cherokee County is a warning that it “will not authorize or appropriate government funds, resources, employees, agencies, contractors, buildings, detention centers or offices for the purpose of enforcing...laws, orders, mandates, rules or regulations that infringe on the right by the people to keep and bear arms.”
Cherokee County is North Carolina’s western most county, with a population of 27,000 and rugged borders that abut Georgia and Tennessee.
Backers of the vote say it’s the first time one of North Carolina’s 100 counties has declared itself a gun sanctuary, which is a growing, but mostly symbolic movement, that began in western states.
Reaction to the resolution on social media has been overwhelmingly supportive, including some who have noted it is no different than other N.C. counties (like Mecklenburg and Wake) declaring they won’t support federal immigration agents in detaining undocumented immigrants.
“It means we get to keep our guns, regardless of what those in Washington say,” posted Karen D. Mizell on Facebook.
“It means that we the people refuse to have our natural right to self protection and preservation stolen by a tyrannical government full of liberal cry babies that have armed guards for their family’s but don’t want us to have a shot gun to protect ours,” posted Jessica Standring.
“It means God says you can carry,” concluded Donna Lussier Barone.
Critics who dared speak up on social media largely complained the resolution was needlessly wordy and a few said they wished commissioners “felt as strongly about healthcare for everyone.”
“People are recognizing the threats to this nation,” he wrote on Facebook. “Without an armed citizens, our nation will not stand. Only the....2nd Amendment and patriot’s can protect the Constitution. People, not government, upholds our Constitution and way of life.”
More than two dozen counties and even a few cities in western states have adopted similar sanctuary resolutions, reported the Alamogordo Daily News in New Mexico on March 13.
However, when the city of Alamogordo declared itself a gun sanctuary city this week, Mayor Richard Boss admitted the move was merely symbolic. “Our police force is going to have to enforce the laws of the state of New Mexico,” Boss said, the Daily News reported.
The Pacific Standard reports similar resolutions have been adopted in multiple states (New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, Washington and Illinois) where there is a “widening gulf between the state’s rural and metropolitan populations.”
New Mexico Sheriff Tony Mace of Cibola County told the Pacific Standard the movement was inspired by those governments that have chosen to shield undocumented immigrants from deportation.
“They’re picking and choosing which laws they want to follow,” Mace said, according to the Pacific Standard.
Whether gun sanctuary resolutions are constitutional has yet to be decided by the Supreme Court, according to a 2018 report in the Belleville News-Democrat. In Madison County, Illinois, voters decided last fall to become a gun sanctuary, despite warnings from some county board members that the measure “violates the principles of what...our country is founded on.”
“We’re in danger of destroying the basic fabrics of a representative democracy by saying we can decide what’s constitutional or what isn’t,” Madison County board member Bruce Malone said, according to the News-Democrat.
Cherokee County’s March 4 resolution has yet to draw public attention from North Carolina government officials.
As for the opinions of gun control advocates who might point out mass killings across the world, Cherokee County added a clause in its defense.
“The criminal misuse of firearms is due to the fact that criminals do not obey laws and this is not a reason to abrogate or abridge the unalienable, constitutionally-guaranteed rights of law abiding citizens,” the resolution states.