Grant County was expected Jan. 7 to become another of a growing list of Second Amendment Sanctuary counties in Kentucky. The Grant County Fiscal Court was set to vote on a resolution declaring the county’s “opposition to any law that would unconstitutionally restrict the rights of the citizens to keep and bear arms.”
More than 30 counties across the state have either passed or are planning to vote on similar resolutions, including Boone, Kenton, Campbell, Pendleton and Gallatin counties. The movement partially stems from Virginia gaining national attention in 2019 when 86 of the state’s 95 counties passed gun sanctuary measures in anticipation of gun control laws the new Democratic statehouse majority promised to pass.
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“As sheriff, there were the same issues when they were coming out with red-flag laws sort of hindering law-abiding citizens from certain gun rights that are upheld under the Constitution under the Second Amendment,” Grant County Judge-Executive Chuck Dills said. “Then recently, with what was going on in Virginia, it’s been a major concern. There is some legislation that is being proposed in Kentucky trying to restrict our Constitution again. It’s raised concerns to a lot of our citizens in Grant County, asking us, as a court, where do we stand in supporting or opposing this legislation. It’s a stance of all the magistrates and myself that we were sworn into oath to protect our Constitution and we will continue to protect our Constitution. We feel that a resolution is a way to identify to the state and federal government that Grant County will uphold our Constitution and our Second Amendment.”
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From his discussions with other counties, Dills said there is going to be quite a few who will be preparing their own resolutions across the state.
Grant County Sheriff Brian Maines expressed his support for the resolution.
“First and foremost, I always support the Second Amendment,” Maines said. “I took an oath to uphold the Constitution, and as sheriff of Grant County, that’s what I plan to do. The resolution lets everyone know, as a community, where we stand as far as our Second Amendment rights go.”
“If there’s any unconstitutional laws passed, we will be the first ones on the front lines to challenge those laws,” Maines added.
Indiana has had a “red flag law” since 2005 with a purpose to prevent someone who is considered to be a safety threat from buying or possessing firearms until their mental state can be assessed or the issue otherwise resolved.
Three separate reviews must be met before that can happen: law enforcement must find probable cause that the person is a safety threat, a prosecutor must file an action in court and a judge has to find “clear and convincing evidence” that an order is needed.
There has been at least two bill requests filed related to gun restrictions and Sen. Paul Hornback, R-Shelbyville, and Sen. Morgan McGarvey, D-Louisville, previously discussed plans to file bipartisan red flag legislation in Kentucky.
“In light of the recent onslaught of anti-gun legislation and discussions of red flag laws in Kentucky and around the nation, I stand firmly against any proposal which seeks to infringe upon our 2nd Amendment rights,” said Rep. Savannah Maddox, R-Dry Ridge. “I will vocally oppose BR 354, BR 342 and red flag laws every step of the way, as well as any additional gun control legislation. I filed HB 327, Constitutional Carry, in the 2019 General Assembly session and carried the Senate version (SB 150) to its passage in order to expand our ability to exercise our 2nd Amendment rights. I am confident that both the semi-automatic rifle ban and high capacity magazine ban will be dead on arrival in the upcoming session, but it is imperative that Kentuckians make their voices heard loud and clear that we will stand firm on this issue.”
Maddox said red flag laws are designed to allow firearms to be confiscated from law-abiding citizens on the premise that an individual is alleged to be at risk for potentially causing harm to themselves or others, without actually having committed a crime, without the constitutionally afforded right to trial or to face his or her accusers and the evidence presented against them, and without due process of law.
According to Maddox, red flag laws are not supported by an overwhelming majority of law enforcement officers she has spoken with in the 61st District and across the Commonwealth.
“Red Flag laws knowingly violate a bare minimum of three constitutional rights in the U.S. Constitution – 2nd, 4th and 14th amendments – as well as a plethora of others in the Kentucky Constitution, which is decidedly more specific in its purview of individual liberties,” Maddox said. “The red flag proposal that was heard during the Interim Joint Committee Meeting on Judiciary reflects a very serious threat to the foundation that a citizen’s rights within the judicial system are built upon, including but not limited to the right to due process, and the presumption of innocence that distinguishes our form of government from other nations where individual rights and liberties are not so sacredly protected.”
Maddox said she is pleased that the Grant County Fiscal Court has taken the initiative to pass a resolution on behalf of the citizens affirming the constitutionally protected 2nd Amendment rights.
“I fully support their efforts to stand up for residents of Grant County and the Commonwealth in conveying a message to the state and federal government, that the right of law- abiding citizens to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed,” Maddox said. “Our system of government is predicated upon the consent of the governed, and I applaud the fiscal court for being a voice for Grant County on this matter.”