MURRAY — The Calloway County Fiscal Court passed a resolution Wednesday reaffirming its support of the Kentucky and United States constitutions, in particular the Second Amendment.
In front of a large audience gathered at the Calloway County Courthouse Annex, the resolution passed unanimously, receiving support from members of the court as well as Judge-Executive Kenny Imes and Calloway County Attorney Bryan Ernstberger. While carrying no legal weight, the resolution was said to declare the court’s intent to reaffirm oaths members of the court made to support the constitutions of both the commonwealth and United States.
Tracy McKinney, owner of First Choice Firearms, was present Wednesday morning to present a petition that had gained more than 1,000 signatures. McKinney said that his and many other Calloway County residents’ concerns stemmed from recent actions from some members of the Kentucky legislature that could impact gun owners in the state.
“I think it is sad that we are even here to have this type of discussion that we are having,” McKinney said during a public presentation before the court. “I think we live in the greatest country in the world, and more so the greatest county in the whole world. I am here today because there are some legislators on the state level that are attacking our Second Amendment each and every day. We have four or five bills that are pending, and they probably won’t make it out of committee because we have elected the right people to prevent that.
“The citizens here in Calloway County have collected signatures for a petition; we have about 1,481 signatures. My goal was 1,000 and we have exceeded that and I think that we will probably get more. I think our constitution is clear and I think our Second Amendment is very clear about what it stands for. The good thing that we have done here in Calloway County is elect officials that have the same political ideology as we do. So we understand and recognize that this court is not opposed to the Second Amendment and we know that each of you have taken an oath supporting the Second Amendment.”
McKinney said he and the others who had signed the petition were asking the court to sign the petition as well. He said he would then forward that on to District 5 Rep. Larry Elkins and District 1 State Sen. Stan Humphries.
“We have 120 counties in Kentucky and there are only about 10 counties that have not passed some form of resolution, and hopefully after today, we will not be in that low number,” McKinney said.
Imes then spoke about how he and the magistrates had worked on the resolution in the last few months.
“What we have done over the past couple of months since this became an issue … is we have tried to word this resolution to cover all the bases and to let everyone know where we as a court representing our constituency in Calloway County stand,” Imes said. “We tried to work out specific details that we felt addressed these points well. Bryan has worked very closely with us in trying to organize this. This is not an ordinance – I want to stress that – we are not trying to state new law or anything. Our premise is that the supremacy clause in the U.S. Constitution pretty well takes care of all this.
“The supremacy clause basically says the states or any substructures or organizations of the state, such as a county or a city, can’t pass a law that violates the federal constitution. Part of the federal constitution is the Second Amendment, and there are two specific Kentucky statutes that I think even further address this.”
Imes spoke on his perceived issue of certain pieces of legislation, such as red flag laws, and their potential to create problems for law enforcement.
“I am saying this personally, not so much as judge or on behalf of the court, but I see with red flag laws in particular how they can handcuff local law enforcement,” Imes said. “You are almost getting in a damned-if-you-do and damned-if-you-don’t position — and I hate to use those words — but that’s exactly where you are.
“If someone decides that I don’t look quite right and that I am a threat to society, they call 911 and say you better go check on him. Then law enforcement comes out and checks me out, they can determine either way. If they determine that I am a bad guy and pose a threat and haul me in and take my guns and everything, by the time I get a psych evaluation and go back through the system, and a judge finally says they don’t see anything wrong with me … that doesn’t leave me much choice if I feel like they have defamed and disgraced me, so I am going to turn around and sue the Sheriff’s Office.
“And it would work the same way the other way around. If law enforcement lets me go thinking I look all right, and I go out and (harm someone) then the sheriff is going to get sued by whoever called 911 in the first place. It is a lose-lose proposition for law enforcement to go down these kinds of paths with those kinds of laws.”
In the resolution, the court spells out the oaths each member had made to both the United States Constitution and the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. The resolution states that “as an arm of government, the Calloway County Fiscal Court states that it supports and affirms the entire United States Constitution and the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, and wishes to declare its recognition and support of any group that petitions the legislature on behalf of the laws which are consistent with the rights and privileges granted and provided by these two constitutions.”
The resolution ultimately resolves: “The Fiscal Court of Calloway County, Kentucky hereby declares its intent to reaffirm our oaths individually and collectively to uphold the Constitution of the United States of America and the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Kentucky including but not limited to Section I, paragraph 7 of the Bill of Rights of the Constitution and KRS 65.879 and KRS 237.104.”
Following the passage of the resolution, members of the court offered their thoughts on the resolution and the petition to be sent to Frankfort.
“Being a licensed FFL holder, I would like to thank Tracy and his group and all the hard work they put in,” said Magistrate Don Cherry. “I think in years past, maybe the silent majority has been too quiet and I am glad to see it is standing up.”
“I don’t want to put words in the sheriff’s mouth, but I want to say as long as he and I are in office, nobody is going to come get (your guns) or register (your guns),” Ernstberger said. “You won’t have to worry about any of that in Calloway County.”