TAYLOR COUNTY—In an attempt to help protect the rights of the citizens of Taylor County, as set forth in the United States Constitution, the Taylor County Commission has joined a movement that is sweeping the nation.
Recently, the commission, seeing a need to uphold the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms, agreed unanimously to adopt a resolution declaring Taylor County as a Second Amendment Sanctuary.
“It was important that we show our support of not only the constitution, but to the veterans, the brave men and women who fought and died to protect that right,” said Commission President Orville Wright. “In passing the resolution, we show that we are all united in the fight to protect our freedoms and our rights as designated by the Constitution.”
Commissioner Sam Gerkin commented, “With all the turmoil going on across the nation, I felt it was important to uphold the constitution, because it is our duty as representatives.”
For Gerkin, who is a gun owner and a firm believer in the Second Amendment, the right to bear arms is about being able to protect the people and things that he holds near and dear.
“It is extremely important for the protection of our people. Everyone has a right to protect not only themselves and their families, but anyone who is in a bad situation, and if we take guns away from citizens, we will render them helpless,” he conveyed.
The wave of Second Amendment Sanctuaries follows legislation being considered in Virginia that would impose added constraints on gun ownership.
Some of the legislation being considered is the implementation of universal gun background checks, limiting handgun purchases to one per month, high capacity magazine bans and employment of red flag laws that would allow authorities to temporarily remove guns from individuals who were thought to be a danger to themselves or others.
One of the key proposed laws that sparked the movement was the push to prohibit individuals from possessing assault weapons, which would affect thousands of owners of the popular AR-15-style rifles.
The resolution adopted by the commission states, “The County Commission of Taylor County, West Virginia hereby declares its intent to oppose, within the limitations imposed by law upon local governments, any unconstitutional infringement of the right of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms, using reasonable legal means.”
Commissioner Tony Veltri said that while he thought it was important to abide by and adhere to the Constitution, he believes there is still room for improvement in many of the gun laws in place.
“When the Constitution was put together, the arms the citizens had were muskets and the like. They didn’t have access to these automatic rifles that can shoot 80 rounds in a matter of seconds,” he voiced. “With the change in firearms, we should be changing the laws to fit. There is always room for improvement. With that said, we can’t refuse what the constitution says. It would be improper.”
Across the nation, counties in various states including Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, North Carolina and South Carolina, as well as many others, presented resolutions, becoming part of a growing Second Amendment Sanctuary movement.
In fact, Alaska, Idaho, Wyoming and Kansas have been declared Second Amendment Sanctuaries on the state level.
Putman County was the first in West Virginia to implement a resolution asserting the county as a Second Amendment Sanctuary, and officials shared that they had received nothing but support for the cause.
Since that time, numerous counties, including Harrison, Doddridge, Upshur, Lewis, Randolph, Preston, Tyler, Cabell, Wirt, Nicholas, Fayette and Logan, to name a few, have followed suit and joined in on the movement, adopting resolutions similar to that of Putnam County’s.
Taylor County’s resolution points out case law supporting a resident’s right to possess firearms for the purpose of self-defense, as well as for a way to hunt, which is often a vital way for families to keep food on the table.
“West Virginia is a hunting state. It’s that simple. For our hunters, we don’t want to put restrictions on their right to own guns,” Wright said.
Through the proclamation, the commission recognized the deep cultural and historic roots of hunting within Taylor County and the many conservation benefits that result from hunting.
“Article III, Section 21 of the Constitution of West Virginia provides, ‘A person has the right to keep and bear arms for the defense of self, family, home and state, and for lawful hunting and recreational use,” Veltri voiced.
The County Commission of Taylor County expresses its deep commitment to the rights of all law-abiding citizens of the county to keep and bear arms as constitutionally protected, and they have vowed to ensure that public funds were not used to restrict the Second Amendment rights of its citizens.
The commissioners noted that they believe more counties to will approve resolutions for Second Amendment Sanctuaries in the coming weeks.