LEWIS COUNTY, N.Y. (WWNY) - A group of residents wants Lewis County to become a Second Amendment sanctuary. What does that mean?
Petitions have collected signatures in 37 Lewis County businesses. Placed there by members of the Facebook group, Lewis County and Towns 2A Sanctuary, the group is seeking to have Lewis County be declared a sanctuary for the Second Amendment.
"To adopt a proposed ordinance which will generally say they will not fund or allow any employees to enforce any of the New York state firearm laws," said Patrick Morse, spokesperson, Lewis County and Towns 2A Sanctuary.
Morse says the county would still enforce federal gun laws. He says the group is sick of state laws restricting gun rights.
"If we follow all these laws, which there seems to be no end in sight, the only groups of people that will have firearms is the government and the criminals and it is not going after the problem by disarming the people who have never broken a law. And I'm one of those," he said. "It just seems like their common sense gun legislation has no common sense to it. They never ever include the people who are stakeholders. They always dictate from a far and we're sick of it."
New York State Police would still be able to enforce state gun laws in the county. The sanctuary would restrict agencies like the sheriff or district attorney's offices.
Sheriff Mike Carpinelli is not affiliated with the group but says he supports the effort.
“This wasn’t my idea - just some fantastic like-minded citizens that have finally had enough with the Albany bureaucracy, no representation,” he said.
Meanwhile, another group of citizens called Indivisible Lowville says in a statement it opposes the petition and its ‘erroneous assumptions.’
The statement goes on to say the group is not opposed to the Second Amendment, to self-protection, or to hunting, but that it does support state laws like the Red Flag Law and the NY SAFE Act, saying they are smart laws that keep Lewis County safer. It says less violent states have more restrictive gun laws.
The Lewis County and Towns 2A Sanctuary plans to present the petitions and a proposed ordinance to the Board of Legislators at its meeting on Tuesday.
"Then we're going to ask them to adopt this and we hope that it will be unanimous because of the county that we live in it should be if they are truly representing the will of the people in this county," said Morse.
The group also plans to go to the village of Lowville and towns in the county proposing the same.