GALLATIN, Tennessee – At the Monday meeting of the Sumner County Commission Legislative Committee, citizens were denied their request for a Second Amendment (SA) Sanctuary County resolution.
This, despite approximately 60 Sumner County citizens who attended the meeting in support of the measure.
The Second Amendment Sanctuary County resolution presented to the Sumner County Commission’s Legislative Committee by Commissioner Jeremy Mansfield (R-District 11) is the same as that has been passed by 27 other Tennessee counties, according to the 2A Movement website.
The 2A Movement has been tracking the progress of Tennessee Stands United and its county chapters in the statewide grassroots movement to get a 2A Sanctuary resolution passed in every one of Tennessee’s 95 counties.
The 2A Sanctuary County resolution effort was initiated, in part, to combat proposed infringements upon the constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms.
The most recent and widespread attempts to infringe on 2A rights are Red Flag Laws.
Red Flag Laws generally allow anyone to petition a court to remove firearms and ammunition from a person who is otherwise in lawful possession of either without due process.
In Tennessee, Senator Steve Dickerson (R-Nashville) and Representative John DeBerry (D-Memphis) in 2019 sponsored a Red Flag Law.
This year, Senator Sara Kyle (D-Memphis) and Representative Gloria Johnson (D-Knoxville) are sponsoring SB 1807 / HB 1873.
The Truth About Guns reports that this most recent proposal would make Tennessee’s Red Flag Law “the worst in the nation.”
The Second Amendment Sanctuary County resolution that the Sumner County Commission Legislative Committee considered Monday night is nearly three pages in length.
The measure goes beyond a proverbial “feel good” by making a material commitment by the Board of Commissioners to Sumner County citizens.
Before declaring that Sumner County is officially a “Second Amendment Sanctuary County,” the document states “be it resolved that the Sumner County Board of County Commissioners “will not authorize or appropriate government funds, resources, employees, agencies, contractors, buildings, detention centers, or officers for the purpose of enforcing or assisting in the enforcement of any element of such acts, laws, orders, mandates, rules or regulation that infringe on the right by the people to keep and bear arms as described and defined in detail above.”
Two days before the Legislative Committee took up the resolution, a rally of 2A supporters was held in Sumner County with about 150 in attendance, as The Tennessee Star reported.
Commissioner Mansfield told the seven members of the Legislative Committee present that it was at citizens’ requests that he brought forward the Second Amendment Sanctuary County resolution.
A handout addressing “How Red Flag Laws Violate the Constitution,” was given to the committee members by Sumner County Stands United chapter chair Kimberley Hasse.
The handout not only points to the obvious violation of the 2nd Amendment, but also the violations of the 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th and 14th Amendments, largely for the lack of due process that is inherent with Red Flag Laws.
After at least six citizens spoke about their support for passage of 2A Sanctuary County resolution, Commissioner Chris Taylor (R-District 9) responded by saying he was going to propose an amendment to the resolution.
Commissioner Taylor’s position is that the entire Bill of Rights is important and that support for all of the amendments should be stated.
Several Commissioners spoke in favor of Commissioner Taylor’s proposed amendment, including Legislative Committee Chairman Baker Ring (R-District 5). As Chairman, Ring said he rarely makes comments, but as a Civics teacher in Sumner County, he agreed with Commissioner Taylor’s proposal.
Other Commissioners in attendance, but not members of the Legislative Committee, pointed out that the same Second Amendment Sanctuary County resolution had been passed by about 24 other counties and that it was desirable to keep the resolution language consistent across the state.
Their appeal went unheeded.
The only Commissioner to disagree with and subsequently vote against Commissioner Taylor’s amendment to the resolution was Danny Sullivan (R-District 5).
The response to citizens’ request by the Commissioners at Monday night’s Legislative Committee meeting was in stark contrast to the August 19, 2019, full Commission meeting.
Last August during the budget and property tax rate approval process for the 2020-2021 fiscal year, several hundred Sumner County Schools (SCS) teachers and administrators turned out to plead for a $4,000 per year pay raise.
The pay increase benefitted about 2,200 school system employees, including several that sit on the Sumner County Board of Commissioners, most notably the Chairman Scott Langford (R-District 11) who also serves as Sumner County Schools Assistant Director of Instruction.
Without a single declaration of a conflict of interest, the $4,000 pay raise went on to be approved by 17 of Sumner County’s 24 Commissioners. That action, benefitting approximately 2,200 SCS employees, resulted in a $0.12 adder to Sumner County’s property tax rate.
On the other hand, Monday night the Legislative Committee would not pass a no-cost resolution supporting the rights of all Sumner Countians.
The amended resolution proposed by Commissioner Chris Taylor was not available the night of the meeting. It has since been published, and reads nothing like the citizen-lead resolution.
A RESOLUTION DECLARING OUR FIRM SUPPORT IN THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION AND THE BILL OF RIGHTS AND THE PROMISES AND COMMITMENTS MADE TO OUR COUNTRY AND EXPRESSING TO OUR STATE DELEGATES THAT WE ARE OPPOSED TO ANY LEGISLATION WHICH WOULD LIMIT THESE RIGHTS
WHEREAS, our country is formed upon the framework of the United States Constitution as well as the Bill of Rights and such is the basis of the freedoms provided to our country; and
WHEREAS, these rights prove a safety net that is the support for all rights given to the citizens of our country and this body is greatly opposed to any and all legislation which would limit these rights or attempt to infringe upon them; and
WHEREAS, working together, these privileges should not be limited, and this body expressly opposes any effort to limit any other rights given to us by these sacred documents.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Sumner County Board of County Commissioners, meeting in regular session on this the 24th day of February 2020 that this body does hereby declare our firm support in the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights, and the promises and commitments made to our country; and
BE IT FURTHER REOLVED that a copy of this resolution shall be forwarded to our Tennessee Delegates to clearly demonstrate that we are opposed to any legislation which would limit these rights.
Those with an eye toward the true meaning of the U.S. Constitution of limiting the powers of the federal government, will quickly spot the flaws in the Sumner County Commission proposed resolution.
In the first “whereas” clause using the word “provided” in relation to freedoms and later the words “rights” and “privileges” being used interchangeably fails to consider the founding principles that our rights come from God and precede any and all of our founding documents.
Commissioner Jeremy Mansfield, who brought the original Second Amendment Sanctuary County resolution to the Sumner County Commission’s Legislative Committee, told The Star in a written statement:
I was extremely disappointed in the outcome of the Legislative Committee meeting and the actions of its members. During and afterwards, citizens unanimously expressed to me their disgust and dissatisfaction with the entire proceeding and outcome of that meeting. With a full commission of 22 “Republican” and 2 “Independents” who all say they are Christian, Constitutional Conservatives, one would think passing something like this would be an easy way to come to consensus and agreement on something so simple as our natural, God-given rights that pre-exist any form of government.
Citizens have to realize that currently there is unconstitutional legislation being presented in Tennessee that directly violates our elected officials United States and Tennessee Constitutional Oaths of Office, as well as attempting to directly infringe on the Rights of the People to keep and bear arms. Such proposed or enacted “Red Flag” legislation in the State of Tennessee is therefore non-enforceable, unconstitutional and should be strongly condemned from every hall of government in every corner of this Great State of Tennessee.
Our County Commission’s Legislative Committee had an opportunity to explicitly and declaratively say NO to these proposed unconstitutional red flag laws during their meeting. In my opinion, they failed to let citizens know they are serious about performing the duties of their basic oaths.
In President Trump’s 2020 SOTU Speech, he stated “So long as I am president, I will always protect your Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.”
Citizens want Sumner County Leaders to join with our President in protecting our 2nd Amendment Rights as well as standing in solidarity with counties all over the State (approximately 25 so far) in passing a “Second Amendment Sanctuary Resolution” that re-affirms our county leaders Constitutional Oaths to protect the U.S. and State Constitutions, and to not enforce or abide by any unconstitutional “Red Flag Laws” that are currently being proposed in the Tennessee State Legislature.
Citizens want to be PROACTIVE where States like Virginia were reactive. Citizens want state officials to know how each county feels, and Second Amendment sanctuaries send a clear message to them about what their constituents want.
The amended resolution is scheduled to be heard at the regular public meeting of the Sumner County Board of Commissioners.
The original Second Amendment Sanctuary County resolution will also be included in the Commissioners’ “packet,” as the result of a request made by Commissioner Moe Taylor (I-District 1) during Monday’s Legislative Committee meeting.
To Commissioner Moe Taylor’s request to include the 2A sanctuary resolution in the packet, Chairman Ring responded, “I don’t see why not.”
The regular meeting of the Sumner County Board of Commissioners will be held on Monday, February 24 at 7 p.m., delayed from the usual third Monday of the month due to the President’s Day holiday.
Citizens may make public comments to the County Commission at the meeting with regard to any item on the agenda, after signing up in the Commission Chambers prior to the start of the meeting.
The video of the February 10 Sumner County Board of Commissioners Legislative Committee can be watched here.
Laura Baigert is a senior reporter at The Tennessee Star.