Lamar County Courthouse

Lamar County Courthouse

The Lamar County courtroom was filled to standing room only Monday morning, as dozens of residents were in attendance to see if the Commissioners’ Court would declare the county a Second Amendment sanctuary.

Most in attendance left pleased, as the commissioners voted unanimously to do just that.

Second Amendment sanctuaries, or gun sanctuaries, are areas where local governments have adopted laws or resolutions to prohibit or impede the enforcement of certain gun control measures believed to be in violation of Second Amendment rights.

The proclamation states the Commissioners’ Court will not authorize government funds or resources, employees, agencies or contractors for the purpose of enforcing laws that have been found to unconstitutionally infringe on residents’ Second Amendment rights. It also states the Lamar County Sheriff’s Office will work to protect people’s Second Amendment rights.

“I took an oath about a year ago, and as part of that oath, I swore to uphold the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the state of Texas, and our rights are guaranteed in those constitutions,” County Judge Brandon Bell said. “So I’ve already sworn to do what this resolution does, but sometimes it’s good to reaffirm our commitment to that.”

Commissioner Lawrence Malone, who proposed the resolution, said he got the idea to declare Lamar County a Second Amendment sanctuary after hearing a representative from the Gun Owners of America speak to the Lamar County GOP in late 2019.

“If some legislators, either at the state or federal level, were to change the gun laws in a way that violates people’s right to bear arms, this basically means our sheriff’s office wouldn’t work to infringe on their rights or take people’s guns away,” Malone said.

Commissioner Lonnie Layton said he supported the resolution, citing a recent shooting where an armed security officer prevented further deaths.

On Dec. 29, a gunman opened fire in a Fort Worth church, killing two, before a member of the church’s volunteer security team fatally shot him.

“That could’ve been right here,” Layton said. “And if it hadn’t been for that one other person, there’s no telling how much worse it could have been.”

Commissioner Ronnie Bass also spoke in favor of the proclamation, and pointed out that it only protects the lawful ownership of firearms.

Sanctuaries have become increasingly common across the country in recent months, with cities and counties in several states issuing proclamations declaring their commitment to the Second Amendment. Red River County commissioners in December declared the county a Second Amendment sanctuary.

Tommy Culkin is a staff writer for The Paris News. He can be reached at 903-785-6972 or at tommy.culkin@theparisnews.com.

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