The Dyer County Local Government Committee held a called meeting on Thursday, June 13, its first in over a year, to affirm support of the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution, which protects a citizen's right to keep and bear arms. Commissioner Dr. Brandon Dodds presented a resolution to the committee for its consideration, which affirms the commissioners' support for the Second Amendment.
"I believe it is one of the most important amendments," said Dodds. "I believe it is not only illegal but unenforceable whenever the federal government passes a law limiting the Second Amendment."
Dodds added that commissioners took an oath as commissioners to uphold the Constitution and if those rights are given up, they may be difficult to get back.
Commissioner David Agee, chairman of the local government committee, noted that the commissioners have previously passed similar resolutions but he could not recall specifically when they were passed. Commissioner Benny Spain asked if the county attorney had reviewed the resolution. Dodds responded that it had not but it was based on similar resolutions approved by other Tennessee counties. Commissioner John Uitendaal added that it was not a law and did not have to be reviewed by the county attorney.
Uitendaal moved that the resolution be adopted with Spain adding a second. The motion was approved by all in attendance: Agee, Spain, Uitendaal, Commissioner Steve Sartin and Commissioner William Mallard.
Agee continued onto the next order of business, which was the related matter of the Tennessee legislators passing a law that takes effect July 1. The new law will allow legal handgun carry permit holders to leave their firearm in their vehicles of private or public parking lots. Agee commented that the issue had previously been discussed by the local government committee at the urging of the Dyer County Fair Board, which was concerned about handguns being brought onto the fairgrounds during "Fair Week." According to Agee, the issue did not pass a committee vote but was brought forth to the full county legislative body anyway where it passed by a majority vote and prevented residents from even leaving their handguns in their car, which Agee noted he was opposed to.
"I didn't agree with it because it meant we were going home unarmed," said Agee.
Now that the Tennessee law will supersede the previous resolution passed by the commissioners in August 2009, Agee said he had no issue with keeping the restriction to keep firearms out of the fairgrounds but believed it was important to allow residents to ride to and from the fair carrying their handgun as long as they have the proper permits.
Sheriff Jeff Box was also in attendance at Thursday's meeting and distributed a press-release statement he released in January this year affirming his support of Second Amendment rights. In addition, Box noted that the Tennessee Sheriff's Association, which he is a member of and serves on their finance committee, also is in support of the Second Amendment. Box further affirmed in his press-release statement:
"As long as I am Sheriff, any federal regulation or Presidential Executive Order that I know is adverse to the Constitution and that infringes upon the rights of my citizens shall not be enforced by me or my deputies, nor will I allow anyone to seize any firearm from law abiding citizens within this county."
Box suggested that the committee amend the previous resolution to refer to designated parking areas. Uitendaal agreed and entered a motion that the previous resolution be amended with Mallard adding a second. The motion was approved without opposition and must be presented to the county commissioners at their next meeting for their approval. The next meeting will take place on Monday, June 24 at 6:30 p.m. in the courtroom of the Dyer County Courthouse.