HUNTINGTON — Cabell County stands to be the second county in the state to declare itself a “Second Amendment sanctuary,” a symbolic move made to prohibit the enforcement of certain gun control measures perceived as violations of the Constitution.
Cabell County Commissioner Kelli Sobonya intends to introduce a resolution during the Cabell County Commission’s Jan. 23 meeting declaring the county a sanctuary for gun rights.
If approved, Cabell County will follow in the footsteps of the Putnam County Commission, which introduced and passed a similar resolution Tuesday. Putnam County was the first of West Virginia’s 55 counties to take such a step.
Sobonya said West Virginia’s Constitution strongly upholds Second Amendment rights, but she feels there’s no harm in introducing a resolution reaffirming that. She was approached by several citizens seeking to pass the designation and she modeled her resolution after the one passed in Putnam County.
“I plan to stand up for the law-abiding people that want to protect their families, and I just want to take a stand in support of them,” she said. “I’m not sure how enforceable it is, but I just think it’s important to take a stand and side with the people.”
The sanctuary status designations are a movement that began in Virginia after voters there handed control of the state Legislature to Democrats in a historic shift last year. The state’s lawmakers have introduced a number of gun control bills this year.
About 400 counties, cities and towns in 20 states have passed similar resolutions since the movement began, according to Gun Rights Watch, a website that tracks gun laws across the country. All but two of Virginia’s 95 counties, Arlington and Fairfax, have passed the measures.
Critics of the resolutions, including Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring, said they have no legal basis and cannot supersede laws passed on the state and federal level.
However, proponents of the resolutions say they are a rejection of laws or regulations perceived to violate the Second Amendment. Those laws and regulations commonly include universal background checks, bans on assault weapons and red flag laws, which give police permission to remove guns from homes perceived to be dangerous.
In Kentucky, the Greenup County Fiscal Court and the Lawrence County Fiscal Court unanimously passed Second Amendment sanctuary resolutions Tuesday.
They joined at least a dozen other counties and municipalities in Kentucky to similarly adopt the designation, including Boyd County and Pike County, which passed resolutions Jan. 7.
In Ohio, the Lawrence County Board of Commissioners is considering a similar resolution when commissioners meet during a regular meeting Tuesday. If approved, it will become the third county in Ohio to approve the designation behind Meigs and Clermont counties.
The Cabell County Commission will meet Thursday, Jan. 23, at the Cabell County Courthouse. However, no firearms are allowed inside the courthouse because it is a secure building.