Defending gun laws: Jennings County declared a Second Amendment sanctuary

It joins a wave of more than 400 other counties in 20 states to make the designation.
Published: Jan. 17, 2020 at 11:49 PM EST
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JENNINGS COUNTY, Ind. (WAVE) – The sheriff in Jennings County, Indiana signed a resolution Friday to claim Second Amendment sanctuary status for the county.

Jennings County joins a wave of more than 400 others in 20 states to make the designation.

“It’s hard for ‘mom and pop shops,’ if I can use that term, to stay open with the pressure that’s out there today and when you’re competing with online sales,” owner of J & L Sporting Goods, Joel Willis said.

Willis says he is thankful law enforcement has taken a stand against any legislation, whether local, state or federal, that they believe could violate the Second Amendment.

“When things are being pressed legislatively and is not what we stand for, I want my voice to be heard,” Willis said.

Willis isn't the only voice crying out, either. Hundreds of towns and counties in Virginia over the past two months have pushed back against the state's recent gun reform bills democrats have introduced since gaining control of the statehouse.

“If it’s any more strict than it is now, then we are not going to follow it,” Jennings County Sheriff Kenny Freeman said.

What is happening in Virginia, along with recent failed gun reform legislation in Indiana's State Senate, inspired Freeman to follow suit.

“It doesn’t do anything, really, but enforce the laws that are currently there in place to protect our rights as citizens,” Freeman said. “It’s for the people, which is what the constitution was written for.”

However, many experts claim the resolution North Vernon Mayor Mike Ochs and State Representative Jim Lucas signed alongside Freeman is largely symbolic and not legally binding.

Some state attorneys general argue there could be court challenges and lawsuits in sanctuary counties and towns.

“Hopefully, it prevents legislators from drafting future bills that don't make sense,” Freeman said.

He added he hopes it shows people are still in charge of the government.

“What’s the old country song? If you don’t stand for something, you're going to fall for anything,” Willis said.

So far, this is the only Southern Indiana county that has designated itself a Second Amendment sanctuary.

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