Laurens County joins the gun-sanctuary movement.




Laurens County has become the latest government entity in the United States to designate itself a “gun sanctuary”.

A resolution approved last Tuesday on a split vote commits the county government to not providing money and/or personnel, including the county jail, to the enforcement of potential laws seen to infringe on the Second Amendment right to bear arms.

“Why single out the Second Amendment?” said Council Chairman Dr. David Pitts, saying that as a government official he has taken an oath to uphold the entire Bill of Rights.

Pitts and council member Diane Anderson voted “no”; council member Garrett McDaniel abstained from the vote. Council Vice-Chairman Joe Wood and members Kemp Younts, Brown Patterson and Jeff Carroll voted “yes”.

Patterson said “absolutely,” when Anderson asked if the Laurens County Council would have the right to pass a resolution opposed to a law passed by the U.S. Congress. There is no law pending in Congress to mandate a gun-confiscation program, but Patterson said, at the state level, the balance of power is just one vote, so there could conceivable be a state law. Virginia is considering such a law to stem gun violence, much of it among young people, in today’s society. Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin has endorsed a similar measure because of gun violence in his city.

Carroll said a previously introduced, similar resolution had troublesome wording, so he would not support that resolution. This resolution, he said, was acceptable.

“Where did this come from?” Wood asked. Patterson said he introduced the measure, with vetting by the county attorney.

Some resolutions of this type prohibit the Sheriff from enforcing a state or federal law concerning the Second Amendment. There is no mention of the Sheriff in the March 10-adopted, Laurens County Council resolution.

It does, however, say “employees” will not enforce such a law, and Sheriff’s deputies are county employees.

The measure cites the United States Constitution and the South Carolina Constitution in saying the rights of the citizens to have guns as part of a “well-regulated militia” will not be infringed upon. 

The resolution commits the Laurens County Council, “to the extent that such acts do not violate their Oaths of Office,” to not providing money or resources or “employees, agencies, contractors, buildings, detention centers or offices for the purpose of enforcing or assisting in the enforcement of any elements of such acts, laws, orders, mandates, rules or regulations, that infringe on the rights by the people to keep and bear arms that may be passed or issued by state or federal government from this point forward.”

The Trump Administration has not proposed any such regulations at the executive branch level of government.

The resolution says, in part, “... Laurens County Council feels that the right of citizens to bear arms, as stated in both the United States Constitution and the South Carolina Constitution, is a fundamental right that should be protected to the greatest degree possible; ...”

The measure covers “the right to keep and bear arms or affiliated firearm rights.” If such a law is adopted, the Laurens County Government would consider that measure, “unenforceable and invalid from the outset.”


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