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Macon County Continues To Discuss 2nd Amendment Sanctuary Status

Lilly Knoepp
The Macon County commissioner's meeting was packed on Tuesday night as almost 20 citizens signed up for public comment - mostly regarding a 2nd Amendment Sanctury resolution.

  2nd Amendment Sanctuary resolutions continue to pass county commissions each week in North Carolina, with Yancey County becoming the latest to join on Monday.  Macon County won’t be joining the movement – for now.  Blue Ridge Public Radio attended the packed county commissioners meeting Tuesday evening.

It was standing room only as over 100 people packed into the Macon County Courthouse in Franklin for the meeting.  Gun rights supporters were disappointed from the start as the resolution that resident Donnie Holden said he’d write to create a 2nd Amendment Sanctuary in Macon County was not on the agenda. 

“Please explain to me why if you took an oath to protect the constitution why you would not want to do it every day for the rest of your life,” says Holden. 

Commissioners explained Holden’s resolution was one ofalmost 10 other 2nd amendment resolutions they received from the community. 

“I sent one,” says Holden.  

“We got several,” says Chairman Jim Tate. The commissioners also explained that the county attorney Chester Jones had not been able to review the document yet. 

“Well I appreciate you all asked me to present it and I have done my job,” replies Holden.   

Macon County resident Susan Irving was among a large group dressed in black with red, white and blue ribbons who spoke against the need for a 2nd Amendment Sanctuary resolution. 

Credit Lilly Knoepp
The left side of the courtroom stood up in support of Susan Irving's speech against a 2nd Amendment Sanctuary resolution. Supporters wore all black with red, white and blue ribbons. Other members talked about gun violence in schools and peace.

“The definition of a sanctuary is a place of refuge or rest, a place where you can feel at peace,” says Irving. “We do not need a gun sanctuary in Macon County, we need people working together to make our community a place of peace.” 

Sheriff Robbie Holland presented a draft of a resolution written by the NC Sheriff’s Association. He says he will do his job regardless of any resolution.  

“Take the sufficient time to make the right decision. So when you make that decision maybe they are happy about it but (either way) you made it and we can stand on in a court of law,” says Holland. 

Each county commissioner made a statement about the resolution, ranging from questions about the connatations of the word "sanctuary" with illegal immigration to hunting stories.

As the meeting stretched past three hours, those gathered began to realize no vote on resolution was coming. After some back and forth between commissioners and the crowd over when the most updated resolution had been sent from Holden, the commissioners agreed to hold off on a vote until their March meeting at the earliest.   

Lilly Knoepp is Senior Regional Reporter for Blue Ridge Public Radio. She has served as BPR’s first fulltime reporter covering Western North Carolina since 2018. She is from Franklin, NC. She returns to WNC after serving as the assistant editor of Women@Forbes and digital producer of the Forbes podcast network. She holds a master’s degree in international journalism from the City University of New York and earned a double major from UNC-Chapel Hill in religious studies and political science.
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