MARYVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Second Amendment Sanctuary counties and cities are popping up across the country, including several in East Tennessee.
(Photo: Brett Hondow)
Sevier and Jefferson County most recently passed a resolution. Roane, Loudon, Monroe, and Blount counties also passed the sanctuary county resolutions aimed at protecting citizens' 2nd Amendment right.
"The sanctuary law says we protect the second amendment first, and therefore we don't necessarily have to abide by that gun control law," Mark O'Gorman, a political science professor at Maryville College, said.
O'Gorman said they started after the Parkland high school shooting sparked an increase in gun control advocacy. In a gun sanctuary, O'Gorman said new laws wouldn't necessarily have to be enforced.
Robbie Paskiewicz is the owner of Knoxville Shooting Range. He supports gun sanctuaries and said the goal is to allow people to protect themselves with legal firearms and fight against the government confiscating firearms.
"It's not guns killing people, it's the mentality of the person," he said.
But is the sanctuary resolution a law? O'Gorman said typically federal law trumps local law.
He said, "You're definitely seeing localities make a political statement with these type of sanctuary laws."
It's a statement not everyone agrees with. Sara Thompson, a chair of the Sevier County Democrats said, "In other words they're wanting to pick and choose the laws. I didn't think county commission should make a decision on that."
Sevier County passed the resolution Monday, October 23.
O'Gorman said he expects judges and DAs to soon weigh in on the sanctuaries. In the meantime, he said it puts a lot of responsibility in the hands of local law enforcement.
Several sheriffs have said it's a statement and won't change the way they enforce laws.
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