LEE COMMISSIONERS: Resolution in support of Second Amendment passes
With gun control and gun violence in the national spotlight, it was a resolution in support of the Second Amendment that came under fire during the Lee County Board of Commissioners' meeting Monday night.
Commissioners, by a 4-to-2 vote, passed a resolution that commends Lee County Sheriff Tracy Carter on his efforts "to protect citizens' lawful right to possess and bear arms" and to call upon the N.C. General Assembly to protect Lee County residents' constitutional rights — with emphasis on the Second Amendment — during the 6 p.m. commissioners' meeting at the Lee County Government Center.
Commissioners Kirk Smith (who proposed the resolution), Jim Womack, Charlie Parks and Andre Knetch voted for the resolution, with Commissioners Amy Dalrymple and Ricky Frazier voting against it. Commissioner Robert Reives was ill and not present at the meeting.
Smith, a long-time advocate for the Second Amendment, said many people do not fully comprehend or understand their Constitutional rights and different firearms have been demonized over time.
"The (Founding Fathers) knew that evil transcends time," Smith said. "They had experienced the British Army marching out of Boston headed to Lexington and Concord to confiscate arms and arrest Patriot leaders. Some might call them right-wing extremists. But when we try to rewrite our history to accommodate a progressive attitude, we progressively lose our freedoms."
Dalrymple said she'd like to make some slight changes to the resolution to make all the board members happy and said she took issue with some of the language used in the resolution.
She disagreed with one section of the resolution, which read "excessive gun control only ensures that law-abiding citizens become defenseless victims to the actions of criminals and terrorists," because excessive was a matter of opinion.
She said she also took issue with the section concerning President Barack Obama's 23 "anti-gun/anti-citizen initiatives."
"I know we all agree on some of the things included (in Obama's executive orders)," Dalrymple said. "Money for SRO (School Resource Officers) in the schools, which we have talked about needing. Also training for our schools and our universities and religious institutions for active shooters. I don't think anyone up here would disagree that is not a good thing."
Womack said while people can agree with some of the things issued by the executive branch, it should be up to the states and local level to make these decisions. The people, he said, don't need the federal government "running around and defining all of these things."
A few people spoke against the resolution during the public comments portion of the meeting, including former Commissioner Richard Hayes and Lee County Democrat Chairman Ann McCracken.
Hayes called the resolution "untimely, inappropriate, unnecessary and unwise." McCracken said she had hoped the commissioners would focus more on the economy, education and the environment than "the scare tactics" used in the resolution.
In other matters, commissioners:
* took no action on the issue of purchasing iPads to be used by the commissioners for meeting agendas. Womack suggested the board analyze its electronic needs and find the right tablet or laptop. According to the agenda, the county spends $4,000 per year on printing the meeting agendas and an estimated 640 hours of labor assembling the agenda annually. Purchasing iPads is estimated at $4,200 with little ongoing support expense. During the public comments portion of the meeting, Ed Underwood applauded the board's efforts to digitize the agenda, but asked the board to consider alternatives to Apple's iPad.
* agreed to demolish one of two remaining structures damaged by the 2011 tornado. Sanford-Lee County Planning Director Bob Bridwell said there were only two structures damaged by the tornado left in Lee County — one within city limits on Broadway Road and set to be demolished in April — and a home on Rice Road. Commissioners agreed to demolish the Rice Road home, for an estimated cost of $2,300, and have the property owner repay the county over a period of time.
* passed a budget amendment that funds one full-time employee and three temporary employees in the Lee County Department of Social Services Food and Nutrition Unit to offset the county's demand for food stamps.
* purchase a new cargo van for the county's General Services department.
* wished Commissioner Robert Reives — who was absent from the meeting — a speedy recovery for himself and his wife, Ruth. Both are ill, according to Lee County Manager John Crumpton.