Would Lincoln County law enforcement resources ever be used to prosecute antigun laws? It’s a question Lincoln County Sheriff Murray Blackwelder says he’s getting every day, particularly in the wake of a contentious fight over gun control measures in Virginia.
Earlier this month, the Virginia Senate passed bills to require background checks on all firearms sales, limit handgun purchases to one a month and allow local governments to ban weapons from public buildings and other venues. Included, too, was a red flag bill that would allow authorities to temporarily take guns away from anyone deemed to be a danger to themselves or others.
In the wake of that, an estimated 22,000 people gathered peacefully at the Capitol Square in Richmond, Va., early last week to support gun rights. Many of those attending were visibly armed.
“I don’t know that Virginia meant to do what they did, but they proved a point the other day with this rally,” said Blackwelder Friday. “You had every ethnicity, every culture and every race there, more than 20,000 of them, and nobody got shot ... It proves that the majority of people should have the right to own a gun.
“I took an oath to support the Constitution of the United States, and if you have a legal right to own a gun, then we’re not going to take it away from you,” he said.
At least 91 of Virginia’s 96 counties have passed sanctuary measures to resist the proposed state antigun regulations, according to reports, and a similar move is underway here in Tennessee where a growing number of counties have adopted resolutions aimed at prohibiting or impeding the enforcement of gun control measures that may be interpreted as violations of the Second Amendment, which protects the individual right to keep and bear arms.
The sheriff said he has no doubt that a civil war would be the result if there were to be an attempt to remove guns from the hands of law-abiding citizens.
“I’m not going to give up my guns, and I don’t expect anybody else to give up their guns as long as they are a law-abiding citizen that possesses the weapons,” he said. “We’ve got enough laws that if we enforce the laws we have, there’s no need for new laws.
“The Texas shooter in the church didn’t have a legal right to own a gun, and yet, he had one. That’s where enforcing the law comes in is prior to him having the opportunity to do that shooting. You can’t legislate morality or ethics, because the people who are going to break the law don’t care what the law says anyway.
“This is nothing more than politicians having a knee-jerk reaction to what they think is politically correct,” he added. “The biggest thing I want the people of Lincoln County to know is we’re never going to come to your house and take your guns, unless they’re involved in an unlawful activity.”
Second Amendment Sanctuary movement
A spokesperson for a local group is already working to make Lincoln County a sanctuary county to preserve gun rights and to ensure that no unconstitutional gun laws are passed in Tennessee. Lincoln County Tennessee Stands United is part of a larger grassroots movement, Tennessee Stands United.
In Lincoln County, Leslie Kimbrough is a team leader for TSU and is heading a petition drive aimed at having the County Commission adopt a resolution on the issue.
TSU has more than 16,000 members and team leaders in at least 66 counties with a goal of making all of the counties in Tennessee achieve sanctuary status. To date, approximately 20 counties across the state have already passed resolutions to prioritize gun rights, even if gun restrictions are passed at the federal and state levels.
The resolution is aimed at holding elected officials accountable to their oath of office, which binds them to the Tennessee and U.S. Constitutions. Per their oaths, they are obligated to preserve, protect and defend the rights of the citizens as listed in the Constitution. Legislation is being passed across America that directly violate this oath and directly infringe on the rights of the people to keep and bear arms, proponents contend. In an official press release, Mike Ater, state administrator, stated that it is time that “We the People” stand together against unconstitutional laws.
TSU is a movement on a voluntary basis by citizens from every demographic and background. There are over 650,000 gun permit holders throughout Tennessee, representing every demographic, according to TBI data.
For more information go to TSU’s Facebook group, visit TN Stands United or email Ater at firstname.lastname@example.org.