Showdown over second amendment sanctuary proposal expected Tuesday in Lewis County

LOWVILLE — A respectful showdown of words is brewing over a local work-around for New York’s strict gun laws.

Signers to the petition calling for a local law making Lewis County a “Second amendment sanctuary county” have been mobilized to attend the Board of Legislators meeting on Tuesday for the petition’s presentation.

Lewis County and Towns 2A Sanctuary Facebook group is responsible for creating and circulating the petition, and drafting the law they would like to see passed.

“Please remember that our behavior will be on display. We are exercising our 1st amendment right to peaceably assemble and to petition the government for a redress of grievances,” say Facebook posts encouraging people to attend the meeting.

Other posts from group members ask county residents who support the idea to “reach out respectfully to your legislator and encourage them to pass the 2nd amendment sanctuary ordinance.”

Like the recent rally in Richmond, Virginia, the group wants to make its presence felt and to be heard without a negative incident.

“We’re trying very hard not to leave a footprint. We want to walk away from the meeting without leaving anything behind,” said Beau Bailey, one of the co-organizers of the movement, “We definitely don’t want to be demonized to people. We have a goal. We have a direction. We just want to be respectful and stay focused.”

Likewise, members of the progressive activist group, Indivisible Lowville, were asked to bring “facts, as opposed to emotional pleas or an argumentative stance,” to the board meeting in an email calling members to meet on Saturday to “exchange facts and statistics that will help us speak to our community.”

“Our whole goal is to plant seeds in the community so that they think, ‘Oh, yeah, that makes sense,’ not necessarily to change the minds of the people that started or signed the petition,” said Indivisible co-leader Emily Lyndaker.

Members were also told to “know your source” so that other people can look up the facts presented at the meeting.

“We will hold one another accountable and not allow bad/false information to spread,” the email said.

Like the 2A group, Indivisible will also be reaching out to legislators and media to share their perspectives and concerns along with the facts, Lyndaker said.

As of Friday night, Bailey said the petition had about 2,100 signatures, however not all of the pages had been collected or counted. He believes there is likely to be “in the neighborhood” of 3,000 signatures in the final count.

If the local law is eventually passed by the legislators, Lewis County will be the first in the state.

Previously, the group said Wyoming County is already a sanctuary county, however, that county’s clerk, Cheryl Ketchum, sent a clarifying email.

“All our supervisors have done is to look at what Mohave County, Ariz., has done,” she wrote, adding that the only action taken was passing a resolution in early 2019 that “clearly opposes infringements on our constitutional rights, nothing about becoming a 2nd Amendment Sanctuary county.”

Mohave County passed resolutions making the county a gun rights sanctuary county in November.

2A petition signers and group members planning to attend the board meeting were also warned through Facebook posts they “must pass through security and metal detectors. Leave your guns and pocket knives at home.”

The February regular board meeting begins at 5 p.m. in the legislative board room on the second floor of the Lewis County Courthouse.


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