Officials begin work on gun sanctuary

County voters approved Second Amendment referendum

HOLLIDAYSBURG — Blair County’s local governmental leaders are expected to begin working on efforts to address the Second Amendment sanctuary referendum voters approved in November.

Eight solicitors representing 24 governing bodies have prepared a basic draft intergovernmental agreement that can be used as a starting point, county solicitor Nathan Karn said Friday.

The county commissioners’ office referenced the draft in a news release issued Friday, indicating that commissioners are likely to address the matter during their public meeting at 10 a.m. Tuesday at the courthouse. A copy of the draft is available online, at www.blairco.org, where it’s posted with Tuesday’s commissioners’ meeting agenda.

For those who cannot attend Tuesday’s meeting in person, audio access is available at 1-408-419-1715 or at 1-408-915-6290 and by entering meeting code 2468097683#.

The news release also indicates other local governmental leaders are expected to review the draft during their February meetings.

Karn said he and seven other solicitors — Michael Emerick, Daniel Stants, Larry Lashinksy, Thomas Finn, Matthew Gieg, Patrick Fanelli and Amy Willet — worked on a basic intergovernmental agreement to give the governing bodies “a place to start” their discussions.

Collectively, the solicitors represent the county and all 24 municipal governments whose voters endorsed the ballot referendum.

Official results from the November election, posted online by the county’s elections office, show 17,846 votes were cast in favor of declaring the county to be a Second Amendment Sanctuary by adopting an intergovernmental agreement barring use of taxpayer resources to enforce legislation infringing upon the right to bear arms. The county recorded 7,149 votes against the referendum.

Karn said that it will be up to each governing body to decide if it wants to consider the draft, revise it and how it wants to garner public input.

The goal of the joint effort, based on the November referendum, is to have the county and all 24 municipalities approve the same agreement.

If the county or any municipal governing body cannot agree with a proposed agreement, then that body wouldn’t be in compliance with the voters’ directive.

Intermunicipal agreements are typically adopted by local governments for sharing resources, such as equipment or services including police departments whose officers can cross municipal borders.

Using an intergovernmental municipal agreement to create a Second Amendment Sanctuary is unique, Karn said.

“I’m not saying it’s never happened, but I’ve never seen it done,” the county solicitor said.

The idea of creating Second Amendment sanctuaries has been embraced by many local governments who have adopted resolutions and supportive statements aimed at preserving gun rights.

The Blair County Second Amendment Coalition, a political action committee of county residents, began circulating petitions last summer in support of getting a referendum on the November ballot. It collected signatures from more than 7,000 registered voters.


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