Habersham Co. - Georgia’s first Second Amendment Sanctuary County is officially Habersham County after the Monday night monthly commission meeting, with a 5-0 vote.
The resolution states in part that “that all federal acts, laws, orders, rules, regulations that violate the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States or Article I, Section I, Paragraph VIII of the Constitution of the State of Georgia, violate the true meaning and intent of those constitutions and are hereby declared to be invalid and are specifically rejected in Habersham County, Georgia and shall be considered null and void and of no effect in Habersham County, Georgia.”
Habersham County Manager Phil Sutton breaks this down in layman's terms saying “It states that the county commission is supportive of the constitutional right that people have to carry firearms and that if there were a law put in place that would somehow limit peoples right to carry arms, it would be deemed unconstitutional. The commission would support the Sheriff if he decided that he would not be forcing the particular law that was determined unconstitutional.”
Habersham County Sheriff Joey Terrell tells WCHM, “it doesn’t change ga law or federal law.” That law is that Georgia is a concealed weapon permit state. “It’s a proclamation by the county commission that says we support our second amendment rights.”
According to Terrell, the conversation of this has been in the works for roughly a year. “This is not something that’s new, it’s not something that’s come out of left field, when you start looking at other states there’s a lot of counties that have sanctuary cities.”
Sutton goes on to address the concerns of those who may think the resolution means Habersham is in favor of gun control/reform. “It’s absolutely the opposite of that. Habersham County is supportive of people having the right to possess firearms.”
“There is a bill right now in the Senate that’s wanting to abolish all semi-automatic weapons,” Terrell tells WCHM. “It (this resolution) just means they support our second amendment rights. That doesn’t mean that folks can now go buy silencers, and automatic weapons, and all that stuff in Habersham County because you can’t.”
Commissioner Natalie Crawford expressed her thoughts on the topic online, saying "Tonight, Habersham becomes Georgia’s first Second Amendment Sanctuary County with a unanimous vote by the Board of Commissioners passing the resolution. Prior to the vote, I entered into the record my preference that the resolution not designate the county a “sanctuary” county as I believe the use of such politically charged language to be unnecessarily divisive, but rather resolutely affirm our 2nd amendment rights — the ultimate purpose of this resolution. I also outlined my preference that we incorporate language affirming those limited rules and regulations already on the books that deal with registration and documentation with respect to background checks for convicted felons and those with mental health restrictions on possession of firearms."
Crawford continues, writing "We have the right to be free from unwanted regulation imposed at the federal level. We have a responsibility to be vigilant in guarding our liberties and lead with common sense and compassion. While I expressed a desire to see some change in the language, I agree with the intent and I’m proud to strongly support our right to bear arms and am proud we’ve taken a strong stance. I expect many Georgia counties will soon follow suit. #gapol"
Commission Chair, Stacy Hall also took to social media, saying "Proud to announce that tonight the Habersham County Commissioners approved a 2nd Amendment Sanctuary County Resolution. In the coming months, there will be many other GA counties that join us in our support of our constitutional rights." Attached to the statement was a picture showing that Franklin County is pending a hearing/vote regarding the subject.
To read the full resolution, visit the Habersham County website.
This article has been updated to include commissioner responses.