Courthouse file

McARTHUR — Vinton County may soon become a Second Amendment sanctuary county.

Judi Phelps, owner of On Guard Defense in New Plymouth, addressed county commissioners Mark Fout, William Wellman and Tim Eberts on Tuesday morning to propose the idea, along with a draft of a resolution, to the commissioners.

Second Amendment Sanctuaries are states, counties or other locations in the United States that have adopted laws or resolutions to prohibit the enforcement of certain gun control measures that are perceived to violate the Second Amendment (the right to bear arms).

The County Commissioner office at the Vinton County Courthouse held more than 20 people on Tuesday morning as Phelps read her proposal.

Phelps noted Ohio has multiple counties who have declared themselves as sanctuary counties. Meigs County adopted resolutions to become a Second Amendment Sanctuary in December of 2019, but years back its commissioners also passed a “Second Amendment Preservation” resolution.

Belmont County passed a Second Amendment Sanctuary resolution just this week. Another gun sanctuary resolution proposal was also made in Ross County on Tuesday morning, Phelps noted.

The resolution proposal included multiple measures regarding how the county would approach a Second Amendment sanctuary status.

“The Vinton County Board of Commissioners wishes to express its intent to declare itself as a Sanctuary County for the Second Amendment rights and to oppose, within the limits of the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Ohio, any efforts to unconstitutionally restrict such rights, and to use such legal means at its disposal to preserve, protect and defend the rights of the citizens of Vinton County to keep and bear arms,” the proposed resolution states.

The proposed resolution that, if passed, the Board of Commissioners of Vinton County would “declare its intent to oppose any infringement on the right of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms using such legal means as may be expedient, including, without limitation, court action.”

Phelps and her husband, Scott Phelps, noted they worked with an attorney Mike Moran to construct this draft. They both voiced they hope it could serve as a “boiler plate” for other Second Amendment sanctuary resolutions in the state.

Ultimately, the county commissioners voted to move forward with legal consultation on this resolution draft. The Vinton County Prosecuting Attorney’s office will review the proposed resolution.

All three commissioners voiced approval of the county becoming a gun sanctuary, after certain legal measures are taken. They also noted that they considered moving the county to that status before Phelps approached them.

If the proposed resolution or a similar resolution passes, copies will be sent to several state agencies. Also if passed, a copy of the resolution as proposed by Phelps would be “provided, at no cost, to any citizen who requests a copy.”

Earlier this month, Hocking County resident Ray McQuaide, who works with Ohio United Stands, addressed the Hocking County Commissioners about the same topic for their area.

“We want to be protected as a community and as taxpayers and know that we are in a sanctuary where the Second Amendment is being protected,” McQuaide said.

The commissioners took no action on McQuaide’s proposition and advised him to speak with the Hocking County Sheriff first before any actions were taken.

Meigs County has also experienced this debate, as the Meigs County Commissioners approved a resolution in December 2019 declaring the county to be a Second Amendment sanctuary.

One other county in Ohio has also adopted Gun Sanctuary resolutions, Clermont, which is located on the south western side of the state.

This was also a recent event, with commissioners of that county voting in favor of the resolution on Monday. Gun owners there explained they wanted this protection due to Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s proposed safety protection plan, especially its modified red flag law portion.

sdawes@vintoncourier.com; @sydneydawes_95

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