Watts: 2nd Amendment ‘Sanctuary County’ resolution unlikely from Nelson Fiscal Court

Nelson County Gazette / WBRT Radio

Monday, Jan. 6, 2020 — Nelson County residents who support a resolution declaring Nelson County a “2nd Amendment Sanctuary County” are unlikely to see one approved at Tuesday morning’s Nelson Fiscal Court meeting.


The reason why has more to do with unintended consequences that a resolution may cause, and less about the lack of support by the Magistrates or Judge-Executive Dean Watts of the Second Amendment right to bear arms.

In a Monday interview with the Nelson County Gazette, Watts said that he would allow anyone with something to say to speak on the topic of a Second Amendment resolution, but noted that the resolution was not being considered at this time by Nelson Fiscal Court, and was not on the meeting agenda.

Watts said he, County Attorney Matthew Hite and Nelson County Sheriff Ramon Pineiroa met with Matt Lacy last Friday on a proposed Second Amendment Sanctuary ordinance or resolution.


Watts said he has concerns that a sanctuary resolution could be misconstrued as superceding state or federal regulations — concerns similar to those expressed by Pineiroa in a lengthy Facebook post about the same meeting.

In his post, Pineiroa explained his reservations on a sanctuary resolution:

My reservation is that this resolution may cause confusion to citizens who don’t understand that this is not a law and does not supercede any law.

For example: Deputy must confiscate weapons from an EPO/IPO/DVO or mentally ill or Court Order and regular citizen will think they don’t have to surrender their firearms since Nelson County will be a 2nd Amendment Sanctuary County. This increases the volatility of these types of call for service.

Watts noted that a resolution — if one was approved — does not carry the force of law, and is simply a non-binding statement declaring the court’s support for a topic of stance on a subject.

Local organizers however have received enthusiastic support for a resolution on social media. Coupled with the fact that fiscal courts across Kentucky have recently approved similar resolutions — or plan to consider them — the “Second Amendment Sanctuary County” resolution movement is unlikely to soon go away.

More than a dozen counties have approved similar resolutions. The latest counties whose governments approved resolutions include Spencer County Fiscal Court, Carter County Fiscal Court, which approved a resolution at a special meeting Monday, and Casey County Fiscal Court, which also approved a resolution at its meeting Monday.

More than two dozen counties have planned votes on Second Amendment Sanctuary resolutions, and another two dozen have meetings scheduled to discuss the topic.

WHAT STARTED THE SANCTUARY MOVEMENT? The movement has its beginnings in Virginia and in the results of the November 2019 elections. In that election, the Republican party lost majorities in both houses of the state legislature.

The Democrat-controlled Virginia legislature due to convene this month will consider a wide range of gun control measures, including a “Red Flag” law that would allow the confiscation of weapons from a person deemed dangerous; a ban on some types of “assault rifles”; mandatory background checks for people buying guns and restrictions such as limiting the number of rounds a magazine can have, and prohibitions against devices that allow fast firing, such as bump stocks.

In Kentucky, gun owners and Second Amendment activists point to some of these same types of gun control legislation that has already been filed and will be introduced as legislation in the 2020 Kentucky General Assembly.

At Monday’s Legislative Coffee with 14th District Sen. Jimmy Higdon and 50th District State Rep. Chad McCoy made it clear that the possibility of passage of these stricter gun laws is very unlikely with a Republican-controlled legislature.

NEXT UP. Nelson Fiscal Court meets at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 7,, 2020. The public is invited.


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