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Gun Sanctuaries

As more North Carolina counties pass resolutions supporting gun rights, one decided against calling itself a “Second Amendment Sanctuary,” while another was urged by the mother of a school shooting victim to be careful. The Cabarrus County Board of Commissioners unanimously passed what it called a Second Amendment resolution -- dropping the word sanctuary -- during Tuesday night’s meeting, news outlets reported. Fifteen people spoke in favor of the resolution; it’s unclear whether any spoke against it. Pamlico County and Catawba County also passed resolutions Tuesday.

Alamance County also looks on track to adopt one of the symbolic Second Amendment sanctuary resolutions that have made news as hundreds of counties around the country have adopted them. The proposal was not on the agenda, so board Chair Amy Galey put the brakes on voting right after Dixon, Boggs and Allen spoke during the public comment period at the end of the meeting, though there seemed to be an enthusiastic consensus for it among the commissioners. It was important any resolution comply with state and federal law, Galey said, and she did not support defying laws the way so-called “sanctuary cities” did on immigration, or the way protesters in Durham and Chapel Hill did when they tore down Confederate monuments, so she didn’t want to be hypocritical by adopting a resolution without checking state and federal law.

At least eight N.C. counties, including Davidson last week, have now passed measures aimed at protecting gun rights. Two other counties in the Piedmont Triad, Forsyth and Rockingham, have plans to discuss the issue at upcoming meetings. Such resolutions can vary from county to county, but most declare the intention of local officials to oppose any “unconstitutional restrictions” on the Second Amendment. The measures are largely symbolic, as the supremacy clause of the U.S. Constitution gives federal law precedence over state or local laws.

News outlets report that a similar vote is pending in Gaston County, while in Haywood, commissioners heard Tuesday from the mother of UNC-Charlotte student Riley Howell, who died last spring after tackling a gunman on campus. Natalie Henry-Howell asked commissioners and residents to give the resolution careful thought, and “balance the need for self-protection and the need for the protection of others.” Her remarks received standing applause from the packed room, Charlotte’s WSOC-Channel 9 reported. The Haywood County commissioners didn’t vote on the resolution Tuesday, but are expected to consider it at an upcoming meeting.

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