BLOUNTVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) – Sullivan County may be next on the list of Tennessee counties to declare themselves “Second Amendment Sanctuaries.”
At Thursday night’s Sullivan County Commission work session, commissioners discussed a resolution to declare “support for the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution.” The commission officially consented to deliberate on the topic at its November 21st meeting.
“This is a resolution for the 2nd Amendment gun rights of law-abiding citizens,” said Commissioner Hunter Locke.
The resolution states it comes in wake of the Tennessee General Assembly deciding in February to further study SB0943/HB1049. Passing it would authorize courts to issue “extreme risk protection orders,” otherwise known as “red flag laws.” This would allow law enforcement officers to petition courts to prohibit certain individuals from possessing firearms.
According to the bill summary, these individuals would pose “immediate and present danger” to themselves and others by having a gun. The bill specifies that no law enforcement agency or officer would ever be required to seek an extreme risk protection order.
“They’re talking about passing SB0943/HB1049 at the state and the Washington level, a red flag law,” Locke said. “What that is, is law enforcement can go in to a judge, get an order, and the judge will sign an order to go in at any time and take someone’s guns.”
The resolution moved forward at Thursday’s session with no objections or questions. Locke is sponsoring the resolution with fellow commissioner Gary Stidhman. Co-sponsoring commissioners include Angie Stanley, Hershel Glover, Todd Broughton, Joyce Crosswhite and John Gardner.
“This is just to send a message to Washington and the state that we don’t agree with that, that we’re a gun sanctuary county, and we’re going to protect our Second Amendment rights,” said Locke. “Other counties across the state [have] done this as well.”
Other Tennessee counties which have declared Second Amendment Sanctuary status include Polk, Sevier, Carter, Jefferson, Blount, Loudon, Monroe and Roane.
A sanctuary resolution failed to pass in Greene County in July. The Greene County Commission instead passed a measure declaring support for the Second Amendment.
Sullivan County District Attorney General Barry Staubus declined to comment on what adopting sanctuary status would mean for the county.
The Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office also would not comment on how the resolution would impact law enforcement if passed. In an email to News Channel 11, Captain Andy Seabolt said:
“As law enforcement officers, we are sworn to uphold the laws of the State of Tennessee as well as the Constitution. We enforce the law fairly and impartially.”