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McCracken Co. Fiscal Court Approves "Second Amendment Sanctuary" Resolution

McCracken Fiscal Court
The McCracken County Fiscal Court on Monday.

McCracken County joined nearly every other Kentucky county by passing a resolution to become a “Second Amendment Sanctuary” Monday night.

The move was largely symbolic because the resolution doesn’t have any legal power, though the county declined to pursue the effort last year due to legal concerns. At least 113 of Kentucky’s 120 counties have enacted similar measures in recent years.

County Commissioner Jeff Parker, the resolution’s sponsor, said it shows the county’s support for the Second Amendment.

“I know it’s already stated in the Constitution,” Parker said. “I’d like to see us also state that we’re publicly in favor of it.”

The resolution states, in part, “the McCracken County Fiscal Court wishes to express opposition to any law that would unconstitutionally restrict the rights of the citizens of McCracken County to keep and bear arms.”

Judge-Executive Craig Clymer said the measure was unneeded but he wouldn't stand in the way of it passing.

“It’s superfluous and unnecessary for a county government to adopt or validate or enforce or state that we’re going to follow what we have to follow,” Clymer said. “If you feel like the itch needs to be it. I’m not going to vote against it.”

The fiscal court declined to pass a similar resolution last year due to concerns it would clash with state law prohibiting local governments from regulating firearms.

When Marshall County pursued a similar move last year, Attorney General Daniel Cameron issued a legal opinion stating such resolutions would not violate state law.

During the meeting, County Attorney Sam Clymer said the resolution wouldn’t put McCracken County at risk of being sued.

“I think that you will be protected if you do this in strict reliance on the Attorney General's analysis or conclusion,” Clymer said.

County Commissioner Bill Bartleman said the resolution text does not instruct county law enforcement to ignore federal gun regulations.

“This one doesn't go that far,” Bartleman said. “We all have laws that we don't agree with, and I'm sure even some of the deputy sheriffs get out there and enforce the law, have things they don't agree with, but they have to enforce them.”

Bartleman added the fiscal court should pass it to “move on and get this off our plate.”

"Liam Niemeyer is a reporter for the Ohio Valley Resource covering agriculture and infrastructure in Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia and also serves Assistant News Director at WKMS. He has reported for public radio stations across the country from Appalachia to Alaska, most recently as a reporter for WOUB Public Media in Athens, Ohio. He is a recent alumnus of Ohio University and enjoys playing tenor saxophone in various jazz groups."