It was the second Tuesday of the month. Normally, the Metcalfe County Fiscal Court meets with no more than one or two spectators. But not last week. The courtroom started filling up well before the 9 a.m. meeting time and they just kept coming. Soon every chair was taken and people were lining up along the wall. There was nothing on the agenda to spur this reaction, but there was definitely something on the minds of the men and women in attendance.
Judge-Executive Greg Wilson decided to address the issue that was on everyone’s mind before tackling the few routine items on the agenda.
“What we have presented here is a resolution that Metcalfe County Fiscal Court supports the second amendment to the United States,” Wilson began. After magistrates had the opportunity of reading the resolution to themselves, Judge Wilson read the resolution aloud.
In summary, the resolution states that members of the fiscal court support, defend and abide by the U.S. Constitution and the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Kentucky and the laws therein. The fiscal court supports and affirms “the entire U.S. Constitution but particularly wish to declare their support for the second amendment and support all laws consistent with the rights granted by said second amendment as ascribed and do not support enactment of any law which may unreasonably abridge or deny the rights and privileges stated therein.”
It goes on to declare that the fiscal court will not pass any ordinance to restrict ownership of firearms, ammunition or components of firearms pursuant to KRS 65.870.
Metcalfe County Attorney Sharon Howard read the statute KRS 65.870 which was just revised in 2012. To summarize, the statute makes it illegal for any city, county or local government or other agency to pass any law regarding firearms. Any existing or future ordinance would be considered null and void by the Commonwealth.
The magistrates voted to approve the resolution and Judge Wilson asked for public comment.
“What you just passed we already have,” Charles Costello said. “The Supreme Court ruled a long time ago everything Sharon just said. We’re not looking to control guns, we’re wanting you all who are designated and elected to protect us, along with the sheriff, we’re looking for your assurance that if someone tries to confiscate our guns you will put up a fight. We’re asking you to empower the sheriff to deputize the whole county, if he has to, protect our right to have guns.”
“I don’t think we can, according to KRS 65.870,” the judge responded.
“Anyone who does not believe that our gun rights are in danger by the federal government is obviously lost,” Costello said. “The resolution was an end run but doesn’t answer the question of whether the fiscal court will protect us from an illegal confiscation of our guns. That’s all we’re asking for.”
Dale Ambers told the court that “the county sheriff is the highest legal authority in the county, including the federal government. They cannot come in here and pervert his power.”
Attorney Howard said she believed that’s what the resolution states.
The argument went back and forth between the county attorney and audience members about what the KRS statute means versus what the audience was requesting. In the end, a couple words were changed on the original resolution and the revised version was passed. The crowd filed out, still unsatisfied.