LIBERTY — A request from a group of citizens to declare Amite a Second Amendment “sanctuary” county will come before the board of supervisors Wednesday morning.
Jewell Watts, of Amite County, will formally request the board of supervisors to draft a declaration in defense and support of the Second amendment of the United States Constitution exactly as it was written by the founding fathers.
Watts saw Don Lindley successfully petition the Pike County board of supervisors earlier this year, spoke with him and decided to help organize a similar movement in Amite County.
Because of the outbreak of a novel coronavirus and the resulting changes rippling throughout society, visitors are not encouraged to attend the board meeting. Watts made arrangements to appear before the board in person, but anyone else who comes to the courthouse will be asked to wait outside.
The Second Amendment sanctuary movement in Amite County is not an organization, but rather a group of citizens who believe in the constitution exactly as it’s written and don’t trust the sometimes intrepid interpretation of legal gray area, Watts said.
His movement quickly gained steam, collecting more than 400 supporters on a Facebook page he and his wife, Crystal, use to update supporters of local Second Amendment protections.
“It’s not an organization — it’s a grassroots movement of people who want to stand up for their Second Amendment rights,” Watts said. “We saw how it went in Pike County so I talked to Lindley. Amite County would be the 22nd in the state.”
Watts said he was encouraged by popular movements in Oklahoma on Super Tuesday in support of Second Amendment sanctuary declarations, which he said are not in any way similar to when cities declare sanctuary status.
“This is not like a sanctuary city,” Watts said. “It’s to create a safe place for the Second Amendment as it’s written.”
He said about a thousand counties nationwide have made a similar declaration and he’d like to see Amite county added to the list, so he asked Supervisors to put themselves on it.
“I asked the supervisors to come up with a resolution to stand with the Constitution,” Watts said. “So many people bend the Constitution and items get caught up in the courts.”
Watts said defining support for the Second Amendment will save the county future time and legal expenses by nipping any potential litigation in the bud by ensuring laws that could potentially infringe on constitutional rights won’t ever be introduced.
“This day and age, certain groups decide to pass laws that are unconstitutional,” Watts said. “And those cases get caught up in the courts.”
Watts said he was encouraged by the citizens of Virginia, where roughly 80% of counties are second amendment sanctuaries, who rejected attempts at state legislation to place restrictions on the possession of firearms.
It isn’t the place of legislators to introduce laws that infringe on the second amendment because it was written in absolute terms when included in the constitution, Watts said.
“People in Amite County are down-home people who respect the Constitution,” he said. “The way its written is the way we’re going to live by it.”