Recently, I have been asked about the possibility of making Scott County a “Second Amendment sanctuary county.”
Let me first say that when I took office, I swore an oath to support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of this Commonwealth. That includes my belief that the Second Amendment right of the individual law-abiding citizen to keep and bear arms should not be infringed upon by Federal, State or local governments.
From just a short time doing some research, the Second Amendment Sanctuary County/City movement seems to be in part a response to actions in the Virginia state legislature. Unlike Virginia the Kentucky State Senate and House of Representatives both have “Super Majorities” of Republican legislators that hold similar values in regards to protecting the Second Amendment rights of citizens. I have reached out to our State Sen. Damon Thayer, State representatives Phillip Pratt, Savannah Maddox and Mark Hart. All of those individuals shared they do not anticipate any legislation that would infringe upon the rights of citizens to keep and bear arms to have any traction in the upcoming legislative session.
I would not support the enactment of laws restricting ownership or possession of firearms by law-abiding citizens. The fact is criminals will not follow any such law passed. Restricting gun ownership of law-abiding citizens will not provide the security and safety that many citizens desire.
However, I do not believe that passing a local law that would be unenforceable is a solution. The fact is, KRS 65.870 addresses the scope of authority that counties have in regards to regulations related to firearms.
KRS 65.870 prohibits counties from “any part” of the field of regulation of the, inter alia, ownership or possession of firearms or ammunition.
— Section (2) makes any ordinance regarding this type of regulation null, void and unenforceable.
— Section (4) creates a cause of action against any government entity violating this statute, and exempts same from immunity.
— Section (6) makes any violation by a public servant a potential criminal act (official misconduct) under KRS 522.020 or 522.030.
Laws are put in place by the authority of the constitution. We cannot choose to not enforce laws because we do not agree with them. There are processes in place to change laws or challenge them in the current justice system. I am bound by oath to follow those well-established processes.
I believe the best approach to address these concerns is for each of us to let our state and federal legislators know where we stand in regards to this issue. I have done my due diligence and reached out to our state senator and representatives. I will do the same with our Federal level elected officials.
I am completely confident that our entire slate of state and federal legislators that represent Scott County will stand with the constitution of the United States and our Commonwealth.
JOe pat Covington is the county judge-executive.