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Coffee County could join several Tennessee counties in becoming a second amendment sanctuary county.

 Local residents packed the meeting hall when the Legislative Committee met recently to discuss if Coffee County should become a second amendment sanctuary county.

County Commissioner Todd Crockett sponsored the resolution. Crockett said he reached out to other commissioners across the state and read their respective resolutions to create a draft for Coffee County.

County Commissioner Helen Debellis asked Crockett if he brought additional information for the committee to review. Crockett said he emailed them the information but Debellis said they only had the resolution. 

Debellis said since there wasn’t additional information for them to review and to make a decision, she was going to make the motion to postpone it until the next meeting.

“As a whole, the commissioners have always said we don’t like things given to us in the tenth hour to make a decision to vote on something,” said Debellis.

Debellis said what concerned her during her research she saw “the red flag” law and asked Crockett if he could explain it to the committee what a “red flag” law was. Partin said he was with Crockett as his council and wanted to speak on his behalf to help explain the resolution and clear up any confusion.  The committee gave him the floor to speak.

Partin revealed Coffee County doesn’t have a red flag law and it is not a part of the resolution as the resolution was about protecting second amendment rights.

He specified that states like Virginia have encroached on the second amendment, acting as a “rogue government that is overreaching the second amendment”.

Partin said the resolution is a message to Tennessee State Representative Rush Bricken, State Senator Janice Bowling and House Representative John Rose to say Coffee County citizens are aware of the gun laws and do not want any intrusion of the second amendment and any overreaching enforcement to curtail the right to bear arms.

Partin said it was not only a second amendment issue, but a fourth amendment issue as well.

“It is my sworn duty to protect the citizens of this county under that second amendment right,” said Partin.

Commissioner Michael Ray asked Partin what “teeth”, what legal power, did the resolution have. Partin responded it honestly has the teeth of a toothless man biting down on a hotdog. ”It’s mostly just a message that simply says the county wants to be left as is.” 

Debellis said while most of the commissioners will be in favor of the resolution, their point in putting off the vote is they want to read over the resolution to make sure their rights were protected.

The committee made the motion and passed to postpone the resolution until the Feb. 24 meeting to have time to look over the information. 

Since the committee meeting had a full audience, commissioners took public comment and some attendees expressed concern about the resolution as it comes off as unnecessary and pointless.

Coffee County resident Johnathon Hershman said when he read the resolution about the county not funding anything that would infringe on the second amendment. He said that was done every day by the sheriff and everyone else in the county.

“We’re not going to defund the county jail because the sheriff is infringing on the Constitution and we’re not going to defund the schools because they won’t let me carry my gun on school property. It means nothing. Get rid of it. Let’s not waste our time on this stuff,” said Hershman.

Coffee County would join other counties in the state like Grundy and Hawkins County if the commission chose to adopt the resolution.

Like the resolution, there is a petition by local residents to make the county a Second Amendment Sanctuary County.  As of writing, the petition had 685 signatures.

Kyle Murphy may be reached at kmurphy@tullahomanews.com.

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