Polk County votes to become a 'gun sanctuary'
We spoke with Polk County Sheriff Steve Ross Friday about his support for a new county resolution declaring the area a gun sanctuary.
Ross says this will protect law abiding citizens, while still working to keep guns out of the wrong hands.
"The vast majority of America feels that we have a second amendment right to bear arms, and we have a right to protect our family and our homes," Ross said. "We don't feel the government has a right to come in and take guns from law abiding people that have done nothing wrong."
Ross says this will not change any laws, that it's meant as a statement.
"It's a statement that we firmly believe in the Constitution of the United States," Ross said. "That is the heart of our nation is our Constitution."
Jeremiah Jack works at Benton Shooter Supply. He says gun sales have slightly increased in the last few days.
"I think it's going to give people in Polk County more confidence, and maybe people in other counties if this doesn't spread, people in other counties may want to move to Polk County," Jack said. "We do believe in the Constitution, we do believe that law abiding citizens should be able to own and carry a gun."
Residents Leo and Karon Sluder say they carry guns for protection and are glad the resolution passed.
"I'm thankful to live in a country and a county and state where I can carry," Leo said.
One commissioner tells us he's heard more public support for this resolution than anything else he's worked on in 16 years.
Polk County Commissioner James Woody voted no on the resolution. He texted this statement:
"Apparently many are concerned in regard to my no vote on the resolution concerning declaring Polk County a Gun Sanctuary County. I have a State of Tennessee handgun carry permit that I have held for many years. I have it for self protection and most importantly for protecting my family. As a Navy Veteran, I took an oath many years ago to protect and defend our country which I take very seriously. I also took an oath to support the constitution of the United States and Tennessee when I was elected to the County Commission. I have a right to my vote led by my conscience, as well as you do. After careful consideration I did not feel this resolution appropriate as it was untested constitutionally and I was concerned for our county in respect to a possible law suit stemming from this resolution. There are many other challenges facing our county besides calling for it to be a sanctuary county. I hope this will satisfy the concerns many have expressed about my vote. I ask you to extend to me the same courtesy as I have extended to you and your thoughts concerning this resolution."
We're told Polk County declaring itself a "gun sanctuary" has some rules.
A county official says the resolution "is not designed to protect non law abiding citizens who commit crimes with guns. It is however designed to protect gun ownership from any laws that could be passed that would keep normal citizens from buying or carrying firearms which they qualify under current law."
Polk County has joined several other local communities in declaring itself a "gun sanctuary."
A resolution recently passed by the county board of commissioners that in part says the county will defy efforts by state or federal government to enforce strict gun-control laws.
The resolution is considered mostly symbolic.
A similar resolution passed last month in Cherokee County, North Carolina.
Read the full Polk County resolution below: