Like many other counties recently, Burke County commissioners are expected to decide on a resolution Tuesday to make the county a Second Amendment sanctuary.
A group of proponents showed up at the county commissioners’ January meeting to ask the board to approve a resolution. Four people in the group spoke during the public comments portion of the meeting asking for commissioners to approve it. In addition, proponents sent officials a letter requesting the measure and started an online petition that had received nearly 3,000 signatures by Thursday afternoon. While it appears the majority of signers of the petition are in Burke County, some live outside Burke County and some even live outside the state.
The resolution the commissioners are expected to vote on says the board is concerned about the passage of any bill or legislation that could be interpreted as infringing on the rights of the citizens of Burke County to keep and bear arms. It says it expresses the board’s commitment to the rights of all Burke County residents to keep and bear arms.
“Burke County Board of Commissioners wishes to express its opposition to any law that would unconstitutionally restrict the rights under the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and under the North Carolina Constitution of the citizens of Burke County to keep and bear arms, and all rights and privileges arising therefrom,” the resolution says.
It goes on to say, “The Burke County Board of Commissioners expresses its intent to stand as a Constitutional Rights Protected County for Second Amendment rights and to oppose, within the limits of the Constitution of the United States and the State of North Carolina, any efforts to unconstitutionally restrict such rights, and to use such legal means at its disposal to protect the rights of citizens to keep and bear arms.”
Proponents of the measure appear to have been making a push for counties across the state to pass the resolution recently.
Cherokee County commissioners were the first ones in the state to pass a Second Amendment sanctuary resolution in March 2019, according to a Feb. 10 story from Blue Ridge Public Radio. Proponents there called the measure largely symbolic. Catawba, Caldwell, Alexander, McDowell and Rutherford counties have passed similar resolutions.
There has been opposition, however, to passing similar resolutions in some areas.
Bertie County commissioners failed to get a motion seconded to vote on a resolution, according to a Tuesday story from WITN. And North Carolinians Against Gun Violence argues the resolutions may not be legal. On its website, the organization says it is the responsibility of the courts, not local governments, to be the arbiters of a law’s constitutionality.
“In fact, Supreme Court Justice Scalia’s majority opinion in the District of Columbia v. Heller (2008) case said that the Second Amendment was not unlimited and that a range of gun regulations are fully consistent with the Second Amendment,” the North Carolinians Against Gun Violence website says.
Commissioners also will consider:
» Appointment/removal to Burke County Planning Board To remove Robert Love and appoint either Joyce Counihan or Sara Chester to seat No. 4, west, to complete an unexpired term that ends Sept. 30, 2021.
» Education benefits for detention officers that will allow them to receive a 1.5 percent increase in pay for gaining an intermediate detention officer certification and an additional 1.5 percent for gaining an advanced detention officer certification. The benefit would become effective March 1. Also becoming effective that day is detention officers would be eligible to receive a $500 increase in pay for receiving an associates degree, or $1,000 for a bachelor’s degree, or $1,500 for a master’s degree in a law enforcement/detention-officer-related field, according to information from the county.
» The 2019 summary of accomplishments for Burke County.
The consent agenda, which includes an order to advertise 2019 delinquent real property taxes; an easement agreement for the Morganton Greenway; Communications 911 phone hardware refresh lease agreement; and a resolution approving an updated Hazard Mitigation Plan.
The meeting starts at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the commissioners’ meeting room, located in the Burke County Services Building at 110 N. Green St., Morganton.