Carter County looking to become a ‘Second Amendment Sanctuary’

Carter County is looking to join the ranks of dozens of cities and counties across the U.S. in naming themselves a “Second Amendment Sanctuary,” a movement that has grown significantly over the past month since its inception.

Commissioner Mike Hill brought forth the motion during Tuesday evening’s Health and Welfare Committee, after speaking with a constituent who asked him about it.

“This is a formality,” Hill said. “It is a statement of purpose. Carter County intends to protect the right to go out and legally obtain firearms.”

Though the motion came on the heels of a recent shooting in Virginia Beach’s Municipal Center and the state’s Governor’s work on creating stricter gun regulations, he said he had started work on the motion well before that.

“I get all kinds of calls,” he said. “My questions always are ‘Is it in the best interests of the county?’ I felt this fit the criteria.”

During the meeting, Hill said he doubted the motion would earn any serious push-back from the community.

“There is always this knee-jerk reaction [after a shooting],” Hill said. “Then you have the people who say ‘You will take this gun from my cold, dead hands.’”

He said the county’s residents have a right to own firearms, and that right should not be eroded.

“There are some sizable arsenals in Carter County,” Hill said. “It is a collector thing. Each of them filled the forms, waited the amount of time and obtained them legally. None of them went out and killed someone.”

He said governments and residents often place greater focus on the guns themselves and not enough on the owners, citing the mental health problems of shooters.

“We talk about strengthening gun control, but we never talk about mental health and taking care of people,” he said. “Most of these folks exhibited signs something was wrong.”

To those who may find issue with such a motion, Hill said he would bring any “reasonable” request to the Commission his constituents asked for, regardless of who was asking.

“If it is legal and reasonable, I will go ask for that as well,” Hill said.

The motion will go to the floor of the full County Commission during its next meeting on Monday, June 17, when the final vote on the matter will take place.

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