By Robin Hebrock
January 8, 2020 – 7:00 am
Nye County is well-known as a conservative stronghold where a majority of its citizens are staunch backers of the Constitution and in particular, Second Amendment rights.
Now, Nye County has formally declared itself to be a Second Amendment Sanctuary County, reaffirming an action it took in March of last year.
The March 2019 resolution, while it did emphasize the county’s support for Second Amendment rights, did not use the wording “sanctuary” and therefore, Nye County Commission Chairman John Koenig brought forward a new resolution at the commission’s Dec. 31, 2019 meeting that does include that language.
The March 2019 resolution was prompted by the passage of a new version of the gun sales background check law that former Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt had declared “unenforceable.”
Nye County Sheriff Sharon Wehrly was the first Nye County official to come out against that new legislation, passed as Senate Bill 143. She sent a letter to Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak declaring her intention to forego enforcement of the newly passed legislation.
Only a few short days later, a resolution was adopted by the Nye County Commission publicly outlining its opposition to any legislation that infringes on Second Amendment rights.
That resolution may have earned Nye County a Second Amendment Sanctuary label by members of the public but it was not a formal declaration of such. Therefore, Koenig brought the new resolution forward on Dec. 31 in order to provide that formal declaration using the precise wording, “Second Amendment Sanctuary.”
Handing the gavel and chairmanship over to Nye County Commission Vice Chair Debra Strickland on Dec. 31, Koenig took the lead on the item. He suggested one minor alteration to the resolution, changing the word “commonwealth” to “state”, before making a motion to adopt.
Nye County Commissioner Donna Cox then jumped in to suggest a few changes of her own, saying she wanted to make the resolution stronger. Cox asked that the commission add “county” to the title of the resolution so it would read “Second Amendment Sanctuary County.”
In addition, she recommended a switch in language to remove the word “wish” throughout and replace it with the more firm “hereby.”
With that change, the resolution reads in part, “Whereas, the Nye County Board of Commissioners hereby declares intent to oppose unconstitutional restrictions on its citizens’ rights to keep and bear arms through such legal means as may be expedient, including without limitation court action …”
After the changes were agreed upon by the commissioners and incorporated into the document, the commission voted unanimously to adopt the resolution.
Wehrly was in attendance at the Dec. 31 meeting and took the time to express her gratitude for the commission’s action.
“I, first of all, want to thank you very much for taking these actions today. It shows the backbone of Nevada, not just Nye County, that we believe in the Constitution of the United States and we believe in the Second Amendment and we believe in our citizens,” Wehrly said. “I just wanted to tell you, thank you very much, for all of us.”
Strickland turned that appreciation around, telling Wehrly, “Your support when it comes to this county and guaranteeing we take care of our citizens has been outstanding.”
Nye County Commissioner Leo Blundo added that in the view of certain people, Nye County is “always at the tip of the spear” on issues like this, something with which he concurred.
“Here we are, doing it again and again. We are always taking the lead, taking the charge,” Blundo stated.
To read the resolution in its entirety visit www.NyeCounty.net
Nye County is far from the only county to declare itself a sanctuary for gun rights.
Also taking place in 2019 in response to the gun sales background check legislation passed in rapid fashion during the first weeks of the Nevada legislative session, Douglas, Elko, Lyon, Eureka, Humboldt, Lander, Lincoln, Pershing and White Pine counties had all passed similar resolutions, some using the specific wording “Second Amendment Sanctuary” while others simply expressed the county’s support for Second Amendment rights.