County officials appear ready to move on after approving a resolution Tuesday in line with the Second Amendment Sanctuary movement across the state and nation. And the organizer of the effort to get Caldwell Fiscal Court to OK the measure is careful to point out its meaning.
"We're not referring to Caldwell as a sanctuary county," said Roy Gene Rogers, facilitator of a Jan. 6 organizational meeting to formulate Caldwell County 2A United's plan for asking magistrates to affirm their support for the right to bear arms guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution in the face of so-called "red flag" laws aimed at gun control.
That meeting drew about 325 people, including members of the fiscal court. Tuesday's meeting of county government, though, offered only Rogers representing the movement. The former educator who taught political science for 33 years in Caldwell County Schools indicated that is because passage was a foregone conclusion.
Rogers said his group, which has changed its name to Kentucky Gun Owners Protection League, had earlier worked with the fiscal court to craft a resolution that satisfied all interested parties.
"The first thing we agreed on was to not refer to Caldwell County as a sanctuary county," Rogers said, adding that legal concerns with the terminology led to the compromise.
The resolution passed unanimously. Nowhere in the 342-word document can the word "sanctuary" be found.
Magistrates and Judge-Executive Larry Curling offered little more on the topic after the fiscal court meeting.
"I have no comment on it because the resolution speaks for itself," Curling said.
The resolution has no binding power, but simply state's county government's intent to do all within its granted power to stand for constitutional rights as they pertain to gun ownership.
"Basically, it just states the opinion of the fiscal court and where it stands," County Attorney Roy Massey IV said.
Rogers is happy with the outcome. Neither he nor magistrates indicated any opposition to the matter. The former teacher adds that both Democrats and Republicans in the county supported the declaration.
Numerous counties across Kentucky have approved a similar measure to support constitutionally guaranteed rights, including many neighboring counties.
State Rep. Lynn Bechler, R-Marion, represents the 4th House District that includes Caldwell, Crittenden, Livingston and a portion of Christian County. Only Livingston County has not approved a measure, and Bechler said he expects a vote by the fiscal court sometime this month.
Elsewhere, Lyon County Judge-Executive Wade White said the matter is on the agenda for the Feb. 13 fiscal court meeting in Eddyville. He anticipates passage.
Four states have approved statewide measures to back gun rights, but Bechler said he knows of nothing similar in the current session of the Kentucky General Assembly.
"I haven't heard any talk of a statewide measure," he said, "but a resolution has been filed in the House to oppose 'red flag laws' or any proposed legislation intended to infringe upon a law-abiding citizen's right to keep and bear arms."
If you go...
What: Caldwell County Gun Owners Protection League meeting
When: Monday, Jan. 27 at 6 p.m.
Where: Meeting room, UK Research Center on Hopkinsville Street in Princeton
The agenda includes the formation of a political action committee, information on a local militia formation, and 10th Amendment (statesâ€™ rights) and more. The meeting is open to the public. There is a $2.50 charge for rental of the meeting space.