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Granville commissioners pass Second Amendment sanctuary resolution, affirm right to own guns

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OXFORD — Following the actions of boards in 56 other North Carolina counties, Granville County commissioners Monday passed a resolution aimed at reaffirming the right of the county’s citizens to own guns.

In the resolution, commissioners declared gun ownership is a “God-given right” and that the county won’t enforce gun laws it determines to be unconstitutional. The vote adds Granville County to the list of counties in North Carolina and beyond that consider themselves “Second Amendment sanctuaries.”

The commissioners began considering the resolution during its retreat last month, when Commissioner Timothy Karan told the board he had received more phone calls, emails and social media messages about the topic then most other issues.

The adopted resolution reads, in part:

The Granville County Board of Commissioners implores the North Carolina General Assembly and the United States Congress to preserve, uphold and protect the rights of all law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms under the United States Constitution and to reject any law or regulation that may infringe, have the tendency to infringe, or place any additional burdens upon, the right of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms in a manner inconsistent with the constitutions of the United States and the State of North Carolina.

Before the vote at Monday’s board meeting, six citizens spoke in favor of the resolution.

Franklinton resident Jacob Moore told commissioners he sees a danger in some gun control measures — including so-called red-flag laws that allow police or family members to ask a court to remove guns from citizens who may present a danger to others or themselves.

North Carolina doesn’t have a red-flag law, although one has been proposed in the General Assembly as recently as last year.

“It is the epitome of unconstitutional,” Moore said to the board. “It violates a citizen’s Fourth Amendment rights of protection from improper search and seizures and the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.”

He continued, “Luckily, these measures have been met with not only public backlash that led to the legislative rebuke from Virginians, but also a strong alliance from citizens across this nation and across this county from all backgrounds and lifestyles.”

On Monday, Virginia lawmakers shelved legislation that would ban assault weapons clips and sound suppressors. Efforts in Virginia to pass gun-control laws was seen as a catalyst for counties to pass Second Amendment resolutions.

Creedmoor resident Edwin Vargas voiced his support of the resolution. He talked about his experience living in Puerto Rico before moving to Creedmoor five years ago.

“I come from an island that is the property of the United States, but they have very strict gun laws,” Vargas said. “What that has caused on the island has prompted politicians to attack at will without anyway for the citizens to protect themselves. I moved to the United States looking for that freedom, looking to protect myself from dangers whether they come (from the) government or criminals on the street.”

Another Creedmoor resident, Adam Drissel, urged the board to add stronger language to its proposed resolution. Drissel proposed adding the “God-given” language, referring to a similar resolution passed in Surrey County.

“The language in the proposed resolution is so dulled-down that if in the future this resolution would be used to fight tyranny (it) would (be) like committing suicide,” Drissel said.

After debate, commissioners agreed to the “God-given” language. It was approved 5-0; Commissioners Owen Roberts and Edgar Smoak were sick and did not attend the meeting.

The next meeting of the Granville County Board of Commissioners is 7 p.m. on March 16 at the Granville County Expo and Convention Center, 4185 U.S. Highway 15 S., Oxford.