Members of the Steering Committee discussed proposed resolutions on declaring Trousdale County a Second Amendment sanctuary and refusing refugee resettlement during Tuesday’s meeting.
Over 20 counties in Tennessee have declared themselves as Second Amendment sanctuaries, including Wilson County, which passed a similar resolution at its Jan. 27 meeting.
“I’ve had several people ask for us to look at this,” said Commission Chairman Dwight Jewell. “It’s been enacted in many counties across the country; it’s not just unique to Tennessee.”
The resolution states that the county would not enforce any laws or put any funding toward enforcing any laws perceived to violate the Second Amendment.
Some commissioners debated whether it was appropriate for the County Commission to weigh in on the matter, as Trousdale has traditionally adopted a non-partisan approach to government.
“Regardless of your position… is it really part of what we should be doing here in local county government?” asked commissioner Richard Harsh.
“I can’t see any purpose of it. What’s the purpose?” added commissioner Jerry Ford.
Commissioner Rachel Jones, who introduced the measure, said she did not feel the resolution was a political statement when asked by The Vidette.
“I feel the Second Amendment resolution is simply stating that the county supports the Second Amendment, along with the rest of the Constitution. A right that is guaranteed to both Republicans and Democrats alike,” Jones said.
“I think it deserves for us to take a look at it and vote on it. If you don’t like it or you don’t see a need for it, vote no,” Jewell added.
Members of the public in the audience weighed in from both sides as well.
“It’s not part of county business; it’s a political statement… I don’t think our county should be involved in that,” said John Oliver, a former county commissioner from District 2.
“You’re creating division… It’s trying to make this body become a political body in a national forum. There’s no need for it.”
Brian Crook, who unsuccessfully ran for one of District 8’s seats in 2018, spoke in favor of the resolution.
“Our Constitution is under attack every single day,” Crook said. “This has nothing to do with politics; it’s having to do with defending and having the right to defend our Constitution. If it doesn’t start in our local government, where should it start?”
Committee members voted to refer the resolution to the Law Enforcement Committee, which is scheduled to meet on Feb. 27.
The resolution regarding refugee resettlement declares that Trousdale County does not consent to receiving refugees and asks that Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee retract his consent to the federal government for receiving such refugees.
No refugees have been settled in Trousdale County and the county government has not been asked about any such possibility.
“The problem is not that we don’t want refugees in our community. But I think we need to be able to have a say in how many or where they’re coming from,” Jewell said.
Committee members voted 5-4 not to refer that resolution to any committee. Beverly Atwood, David Nollner, Bubba Gregory, Harsh and Ford cast ‘no’ votes, with Jewell, Bill Fergusson, Landon Gulley and Gary Claridy voting in favor.
Since that resolution will not go through the committee process, Jewell said it would proceed directly to the full County Commission.
Reach Chris Gregory at 615-374-3556 or [email protected]