Jackson passes resolution to uphold the U.S. Constitution
By unanimous vote during their Tuesday, June 1, meeting, Jackson County commissioners passed a resolution that “calls upon the North Carolina General Assembly and the United States Congress to use all their powers and authority to protect our citizens’ freedom under the Constitution.”
Commissioner Tom Stribling originally suggested the resolution during an April work session, asking that commissioners consider a measure declaring Jackson County a constitutionally protected county, particularly regarding the second amendment and the right to bear arms. During the early months of 2020, the majority of counties in Western North Carolina passed resolutions opposing potential measures that might infringe upon the right to bear arms, but Jackson County had not yet considered such a resolution.
“I was just wanting to make Jackson County a constitutional carry county like our neighboring counties around us,” Stribling said during a follow-up discussion at the May 18 meeting.
In response, Chairman Brian McMahan told Stribling that the board had been discussing such a resolution before the pandemic redirected everybody’s focus. He then highlighted various sections of a proposed resolution that would affirm the entire Constitution rather than focusing solely on the Second Amendment.
“We wanted to make sure that we recognized the first 10 amendments to the Constitution, which is known as the Bill of Rights,” he said. “That’s the main focus of making sure that we honor and protect and highlight those 10 amendments, which includes Mr. Stribling’s Second Amendment.”
Unlike a similar resolution that the Haywood County Board of Commissioners passed in February 2020, Jackson County’s resolution does not specifically mention the right to bear arms except as part of a paragraph that lists all the rights outlined in the first ten amendments. The Haywood County resolution, meanwhile, devotes three paragraphs to second amendment rights.
“I know some of the other counties adopted much larger resolutions that got into much more in-depth conversation, but this is very simple and to the point,” McMahan said May 18.
At just over 300 words, the resolution lists the individual rights outlined in the Bill of Rights, states that 17 other amendments were added later and says that “the Constitution has been and is under pressure and attack from foreign and domestic entities.” Jackson County residents have asked commissioners to resolve to protect their constitutional rights, it continues, before devoting three paragraphs to explaining commissioners’ commitment to the Constitution. Commissioners took an oath to uphold the Constitution, led fundraising efforts to install full-size replicas of America’s founding documents at Freedom Park — located within Mark Watson Park in Sylva — and have a “deep commitment” to protecting constitutional rights that places them “in opposition of any proposed law that infringes upon an individual’s’ constitutional rights,” the resolution states.
“If ever in this country we need to pledge to ourselves to uphold the Constitution of the United States, it seems to be right now,” said Commissioner Boyce Deitz prior to the June 1 vote. “It seems that there’s been a move in this country to make the nation whatever you want it to be from day to day, but it’s solemnly not that.”
The Jan. 6 riot in Washington D.C. is an example of that move, said Deitz, and of the need to safeguard the U.S. Constitution.
“There is no area in this county that is untouched or left where there wasn’t somebody who gave their service and ultimately their life in service to this nation to preserve, protect and defend the founding documents that we stood right in front of,” said McMahan, reflecting on the Memorial Day celebration he’d attended the day before. “Some of them may have volunteered to go, some of them may have been drafted and didn’t really want to go, but they went because it was a call of duty for their country.”
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Dear Commissioner McMahan,
Thank you for your comments and upholding the amendments to the Constitution of the United States. Memorial Day made us a remember and think about the service men and women that gave their lives to uphold the Constitution of the United States of America. For the Revolutionary War on my family and my husband's family have had family that gave their lives for our freedom. God bless the United States of America and all that gave all so that we have freedom and rights as supported by the Constitution of the United States of America.