By Beth Lawrence
The Jackson County Board of Commissioners is considering the possibility of a resolution in support of the Second Amendment.
The idea was introduced by Commissioner Ron Mau at the board’s Feb. 11 work session.
“I have gotten lots of phone calls, and Facebook messages, and all kinds of communication,” Mau said. “It’s coming; there’s a petition out there being signed. Instead of waiting for people to be here in force, I’d just as soon be proactive and get things moving.”
Mau, who is running as a Republican for a seat in the state House of Representatives District 119, presented the Board with a copy of Forsyth County’s recent declaration as a guideline to draft a similar resolution for Jackson.
Mau said later that he is not making the move as part of his campaign but as a genuine effort on his behalf to address requests from county residents. He sees the measure as a way to take a stance and let the state and federal governments know that local leadership and residents want their Second Amendment rights protected.
There was both reluctance and support for the notion among board members present at the meeting. Commissioner Mickey Luker was, again, absent.
Board Chair Brian McMahan supported exploring the idea of a declaration, but wanted to be careful to go about it in the right way.
“In some ways it’s no different than us saying in a resolution that we support the 19th Amendment and the right for women to vote. We adopted that proclamation not too long ago,” McMahan said. “But some of the wording that Ron and I talked about in other counties goes way beyond what I can support.”
Mau’s hesitancy stemmed from wording in some documents that appeared to pit boards of commissioners and sheriff’s offices against each other.
Commissioner Boyce Deitz seemed reluctant to wade into the Second Amendment fracas at all.
“We all said that we’d uphold the constitution,” Deitz said. “That was not just the Second Amendment; it was all of it.”
Deitz, a hunter himself and a former history teacher, said later that he would be open minded and would listen to what all sides had to say before making up his mind.
The Board asked County Attorney Heather Baker to examine the sample document and come up with a possible draft for commissioners to consider at a future meeting.
“There are some issues,” Baker told the board. “You take an oath to uphold the constitution; you want to be very sure that you don’t take any action that is in conflict with your oath.”
Commissioner Gayle Woody said she expressed the same sentiment to a number of residents who had approached her about the idea of the county becoming a Second Amendment sanctuary.
Over half of North Carolina’s 100 counties have issued resolutions declaring their support for the Second Amendment in various forms.