A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Three NKY counties have passed 2nd Amendment sanctuary resolutions – what it means, doesn’t mean

By Mark Hansel
NKyTribune managing editor

The three counties that most people recognize as the heart of Northern Kentucky have joined the growing list to those that have approved Second Amendment Sanctuary resolutions.

Kenton County passed its resolution January 9, followed by Boone County and Campbell County this week.

A Second Amendment sanctuary refers to states, counties, or localities that have adopted resolutions that oppose certain gun control measures believed to violate the Second Amendment. These can include, but are not limited to, background checks, high capacity magazine bans, assault weapon bans, or red flag laws.

At last count, 37 of the 120 counties in Kentucky have passed Second Amendment Sanctuary resolutions.

Resolutions are normally brought before the legislative body by motion and are approved by voice vote. Resolutions have no binding effect on citizens or a legislative body.

 Boone County voted unanimously to approve its resolution Tuesday night.

Commissioner Jesse Brewer asked Judge/Executive Gary Moore to consider bringing a resolution to the Fiscal Court late last year and has been outspoken in his support of the issue.

“I think it’s no secret, if you’ve paid attention to the media, my personal stance on this, in putting this together and bringing this important issue to light,” Brewer said. “I can’t be more proud to represent and be a part of a community that feels so strongly about our constitutional rights and I know that here in Boone County that we’re sending a message to Frankfort, that, ‘not here, we’re not going to take that.’”


It is fair to ask if it’s a message that even needed to be sent at this time. In Kentucky, these appear to be resolutions in search of a controversy.

There is no indication the Kentucky General Assembly would consider passing any legislation that challenged Second Amendment rights pertaining to gun ownership.

A resolution, while not an ordinance, which involves a distinctly legislative act, is an expression of an opinion, shared by a majority of the legislative body that approves it.

It’s value is that it lets residents and business owners know that their governing body presents a united front on an issue of concern in a community.

It also lets lawmakers at the state or federal level know how people in the communities they represent feel about an issue at hand.

By extension, if an opinion is shared widely enough in a legislative district, or statewide, it helps state or federal lawmakers understand the will of the people they represent and encourages them to vote accordingly. 

This last part is very important, as it relates to the rights of gun owners. Efforts to modify gun owners’ rights are often heightened after a catastrophic event, such as a mass shooting.

Following such incidents, legislators are often encouraged by those in favor of stricter gun laws to enact legislation that supports what they perceive as a threat to public safety. Pressure from the voters back home could certainly influence the stance of legislators on such an issue.

The Second Amendment Sanctuary resolution adopted by the Boone County Fiscal Court Tuesday. Similar resolutions have been adopted in Kenton and Campbell Counties, and more than 30 others across Kentucky (click to enlarge).

Red flag laws, for example, permit police or family members to petition a state court to order the temporary removal of firearms from a person who may present a danger to others or themselves.

In light of the number of mass shootings in the country in recent years, such legislation has gained support in some states, but not in Kentucky.

At the recent Northern Kentucky Legislative Caucus, Senate Majority Leader Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, made it clear that there is no support for such legislation in Kentucky.

“There will be no Red Flag laws passed in the Kentucky General Assembly,” Thayer said. “The gun-grabbers are going to have to come through me.”

That comment drew the loudest cheers of the day from those in attendance at the forum.

If the majority opinion in the Kentucky General Assembly was to change at some point, however, and stricter gun laws were passed, resolutions approved at the county level would have no force of law.

Boone County Judge/Executive Gary Moore, who voted in favor of the Second Amendment Sanctuary resolution, explained just that, in response to a question.

“If the legislature passes laws, and those laws apply to us, we do not have the authority to override, or to amend any laws that the state legislature passes,” Moore said.

 Contact Mark Hansel at mark.hansel@nkytrib.com

Related Posts

Leave a Comment