With nearly 1,000 signatures already delivered to the Lumpkin County Board of Commissioners in support of adoption of a 2nd Amendment Sanctuary Ordinance, the American Patriots USA group is holding a “muster call to action” on Saturday to get more names on the dotted line.
“Our goal is to have 5,000 signatures,” said Josh Mote, spokesperson for the group. “We already have 850 more from one of our four committees gathering signatures.”
Chester Doles, chair of the American Patriots USA Lumpkin County Chapter, has been active in the effort.
When the petition was presented at the January BOC meeting Doles asked what the next step would be.
BOC Chairman Chris Dockery said the commissioners would review the proposed ordinance before deciding what measure to take, if any, and invited Doles to return to the next meeting to “push your agenda … [and] continue to collect signatures.”
Dockery added that, with or without such an ordinance, the 2nd Amendment is not in danger locally.
“I can tell you, I have no fear for our 2nd Amendment rights here in Lumpkin County—or in the state of Georgia for that matter,” he said.
Sanctuary ordinances have been quietly spreading across the country for several years, but really picked up steam last year when Virginia Governor Ralph Northam introduced a set of tough gun restrictions in response to the mass shooting at the Virginia Beach Municipal Center in May 2019. Twelve people died and four other were wounded in the massacre.
The governor’s proposals included universal background checks; banning assault weapons, high-capacity ammunition magazines, bump stocks and silencers; limiting purchases of hand guns to once each month; and allowing courts to seize guns from those a judge deemed to be a threat to themselves or others (red-flag law)—all measures the sanctuary ordinances hinder enforcement of or prohibit.
The proposed law was not brought up in the Virginia legislature’s final session.
Most recently in North Georgia, first Habersham, then Rabun and Floyd counties passed 2nd Amendment Sanctuary ordinances.
Mote said American Patriots USA “had been discussing” a petition before Habersham passed its ordinance, but Northam’s “infringement of gun rights” by banning them from a recent pro-gun rally spurred the group’s decision.
It is questionable what effect Sanctuary ordinances would actually have, as state law trumps local government, unless local law is more—not less—strict than the state’s.
In Georgia specifically, no restrictions have been proposed by legislators.
When contacted by The Nugget, University of North Georgia Professor of Political Science Dr. Carl. Cavalli, said the ordinance is most likely “more symbolic or perhaps pre-emptive” than a true law. “Georgia has not passed the kinds of restrictive laws under consideration in Virginia and other states,” he said. “In fact, the last significant legislation of any relevance that I can think of—the campus carry legislation—was expansive, not restrictive.”
For Mote, the proposed ordinance “is a security blanket. We’re looking for peace of mind that we’re never going to lose the rights guaranteed in the 2nd Amendment.”
‘NOT A RACE THING’
Doles agrees with Cavalli, but said he feels it is important to take a stand. “Without the 2nd Amendment the rest of the Constitution is pretty much useless,” he said.
Last year Doles made headlines in The Nugget, and across the nation, when he organized a pro-Trump rally that had reported ties to white supremacy groups.
When talking to The Nugget he emphasized that the push for the sanctuary ordinance "is not a race thing. Race doesn’t matter. This is a question of this country is going to become Socialist or continuing to honor the Constitution and remain a democracy.”
The American Patriots USA signature drive event takes place at Park & Rec Saturday, Feb. 8, 1-4 p.m. with an offer of free lunch.
Mote urged everyone—“from any walk of life or past background to come do their part to defend our Constitution next Saturday. All are welcome.”