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Sullivan Co. commissioners declare the county a Second Amendment sanctuary

County officials said they want to send a message about gun control to Tennessee lawmakers.

Commissioners voted in favor of a resolution declaring Sullivan County a Second Amendment sanctuary.

Commissioners Gary Stidham and Hunter Locke sponsored the resolution. It passes amid concern from citizen advocates, other states enforcing red flag laws and proposed gun control legislation across the state line in Virginia.

If an area is a Second Amendment sanctuary, it has passed a resolution not to use resources to enforce gun control legislation it deems unconstitutional. 

Stidham told WCYB the resolution is merely taking a strong stance on the Second Amendment for law-abiding citizens, since it doesn't present any laws. However, he hopes the resolution sends a strong message about Northeast Tennesseans to legislators in Nashville.

RELATED: Jefferson and Sevier Counties added to the list of Tennessee 'gun sanctuaries'

Sullivan County Sheriff Jeff Cassidy said he strongly supports the resolution.

Twenty-one commissioners voted in favor of the resolution. Three were absent.

Thursday's decision comes two days after Lee County in Virginia declared itself a Second Amendment sanctuary. Blount, Monroe, Sevier and Jefferson counties have also passed similar resolutions.

When Sevier and Jefferson counties passed Second Amendment sanctuary resolutions in October, 10News spoke to legal expert Stewart Harris. He is a constitutional law professor at LMU Duncan School of Law. 

Harris explained the Second Amendment and right to bear arms only kicks in when the government tries to restrict your gun rights.

"In a state like Tennessee, it's very unlikely that will happen, but we're really not talking about a constitutional issue, we're talking about a political decision from the people of these counties," Harris noted.

He said more states, counties and even towns are making the move to become gun sanctuaries in recent years.

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