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2nd Amendment advocates pack Nelson Fiscal Court meeting seeking resolution

Video of |the discussion on the Second Amendment resolution sought by Nelson County United.

By JIM BROOKS
Nelson County Gazette / WBRT Radio

Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2020 –– The Nelson Fiscal Court meeting room was standing room only at Tuesday morning’s fiscal court meeting, with most of the crowd coming to support a resolution that would designate Nelson County a Second Amendment Sanctuary county.

MATT LACY

Matt Lacy, one of the primary organizers of the Second Amendment movement called Nelson County United, spoke to the court and urged the magistrates to each go on the record about their support — or lack of — about the proposed ordinance.

Passions run deep when it comes to the right to bear arms, and the crowd wasn’t shy about voicing its displeasure when Magistrate Eric Shelburne called the issue “a paper tiger.”

Shelburne said he is a veteran and a gun owner who is an adamant supporter of the Second Amendment right to bear arms.

He noted that Sen. Jimmy Higdon and stated Rep. Chad McCoy reported at their Legislative Coffee on \Monday, Jan. 6, 2020, that there was “zero chance” of the General Assembly passing red flag laws or other gun control regulations. Passing a resolution restating the Second Amendment wasn’t needed in Kentucky since there’s really no threat in Kentucky to Second Amendment rights, he explained.

District 5 Magistrate Eric Shelburne listens to the discussion about a resolution that could declare Nelson County a “Second Amendment Sanctuary County.'”

Members of the crowd disagreed loudly, at one point requiring Nelson County Sheriff Ramon Pineiroa to restore order to the meeting.

County Attorney Matthew Hite has advised the court to move cautiously regarding the proposed resolution, citing KRS 65.870(2), a section of state law that prohibits local governments from passing local firearms regulations by “ordinance, executive order, adminstrative regulation, policy, procedure, rule, or any other form of executive or legislative action in violation of [KRS 65.870} or the spirit hereof.”

Magistrates Gary Coulter, left,, and Keith Metcalfe talk during Tuesday’s Nelson Fiscal Court meeting.

The resolution started out as an ordinace, which Hite said would have been illegal for the court to approve.

According to Hite’s interpretation of KRS 65.870, the law could allow someone to sue the magistrates individually if they pass the resolution as it was originally worded. Hite said his discussion with the state county attorney’s association suggested that county attorneys review proposed ordinances closely.

“You all think you’re being infringed on, but I don’t,” he told the crowd.

Judge-Executive Dean Watts read a substitute resolution that was shorter and according to Watts, passed legal muster with the county attorney.

Lacy and others in the crowd did not see a problem with the original resolution, though Lacy said if he could have a copy of Watts’ draft, he would post it on social media for review by members of the group.

Bardstown resident Martha Nest told the crowd that the resolution was a political move that was unnecessary, and said it wasn’t an issue that county government needed to address.

Watts promised the Second Amendment supporters that Nelson Fiscal Court would address the resolution at its next meeting in two weeks, with some form of resolution expressing affirmation of the right to bear arms.

Unless there are unforeseen delays, the magistrates will consider a resolution to reaffirm the Second Amendment at its meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020.

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