On October 19, 2019, the Jefferson County Commission voted to pass a resolution declaring Jefferson County, Tennessee to be a Second Amendment Sanctuary County. Commissioner Coleman moved Resolution 2019-51 for approval seconded by Commissioner Kesterson, a Roll Call vote was taken and Resolution 2019-51 was approved 18-2 (in favor: Huffaker, Kesterson, Douglas, Patterson, Lowe, Phagan, Warren, Seals, Solomon, Blevins, Eslinger, Bales, Scarlett, Coleman, Dockery, Carmichael, Walker, and Reed.)

Verification Citation/Source: Jefferson County, Tennessee County Commission
Resolution date passed: 19 Oct 2019
Vote count: 18-2



On October 21, 2019 on behalf of the citizens of Jefferson County, Tennessee, the Jefferson County Commission state and accept as true, the following:

WHEREAS, the Declaration of Independence states: that people are, “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed”;

WHEREAS, John Adams wrote in: A Dissertation on the Canon and Feudal Law (1765): “I say Rights, for such they (the people) have, undoubtedly, antecedent to all earthly government – Rights, that cannot be repealed or restrained by human laws – Rights, derived from the great Legislator of the Universe”;

WHEREAS, Natural Law Rights, given to each of us by our Creator are the basis of our Constitution by which they are protected and secured to each of us. Natural Law Rights, including that of self-protection, are guaranteed by our laws, our history, and our traditions;

WHEREAS, it is natural tendency of Civil Government to expand beyond the limits of its rightful, Constitutional authority and to usurp powers which have not been given to it through the delegated consent of the governed;

WHEREAS, whenever the uses of government are perverted, individual sovereignty is overly endangered or threatened, and all other means of redress are ineffective, the people may, and in fact ought to, enforce the re-establishment of the original constitutional limits of government;

WHEREAS, resistance against arbitrary power and oppression is the obligation of every patriot, as not to do so is destructive to the good and happiness of mankind. In fact, it is the duty of the people of Jefferson County, Tennessee, through the actions of their lesser magistrates, namely local elected officials and sheriff, to challenge the civil government when and where it exceeds or threatens to exceed its bounds;

WHEREAS, the Constitution of the United States is the Supreme Law of our Nation;

WHEREAS, the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America states: “A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a Free State, the Right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed”;

WHEREAS, the United States Supreme Court in Miranda v. Arizona (1966) stated that “Where rights secured by the Constitution are involved, there can be no rule making or legislation which would abrogate them”;

WHEREAS, the United States Supreme Court in the District of Columbia v. Heller (2008) decision affirmed that the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms is not connected in any way to service in a militia;

WHEREAS, the United States Supreme Court in the United States v. Miller (1939) stated that firearms that are part of the ordinary military equipment with use that could contribute to the common defense are protected by the Second Amendment;

WHEREAS, the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, Section1 states: “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of the citizens of the United States; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction, the equal protection of the laws”;

WHEREAS, the United States Supreme Court in the McDonald v. City of Chicago (2010) decision affirmed that a Person’s Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms is further secure by the “due process” and the “privileges and immunities” clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment. The decision also protects rights closely related to the Second Amendment, namely the right to manufacture, transfer, accessories and ammunition;

WHEREAS, the Tennessee State Constitution Article 1, Section 26 states: “that the citizens of this state have a right to keep and to bear arms for their common defense; but the Legislature shall have power, by law, to regulate the wearing of arms with a view to prevent crime”;

WHEREAS, the Tennessee State Constitution Article 1, Section 24 states: “that the sure and certain defense of a free people, is a well-regulated militia; and, as standing armies in time of peace are dangerous to freedom, they ought to be avoided as far as the circumstances and safety of the community will admit; and that in all cases the military shall be kept in strict subordination to the civil authority”;

WHEREAS, the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of America states: “the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people”;

WHEREAS, the United States Supreme Court found in Prinz v. United States (1997) that the Federal government cannot compel law enforcement officers of the states to enforce Federal laws as it would increase the power of the Federal government far beyond that which the Constitution intends:

Section 1. The unalienable right to keep and bear arms, as specified in the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution, the Constitution of Tennessee, and further upheld by subsequent decisions of the United States Supreme Court.

Section 2. The Right, as originally written and understood, to keep and bear arms for self-defense, personal safety, protection of one’s family, and in defense of one’s community and county.

Section 3. The right to manufacture, transfer, purchase, and sell firearms and ammunition designed for those purposes outlined above, rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Constitution of Tennessee.

FUTHERMORE, any regulation of the right to keep and bear arms or affiliated firearm rights that violates the Second, Ninth, Tenth, or Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution, that violates Article 1, Sections 24 and 26 of the Tennessee Constitution, or that violates numerous related Supreme Court Decisions including those listed above shall be regarded by the people of, on, or in Jefferson County, Tennessee to be unconstitutional, a transgression of the Supreme Law of the Land and its spirit of individual sovereignty, and, therefore by necessity, unenforceable and invalid from the outset.

MOREOVER, the criminal misuse of firearms is due to the fact that criminals do not obey laws and this is not a reason to abrogate or abridge the unalienable, constitutionally guaranteed rights of law abiding citizens. The last protectors of the Constitution of the United States are we the People of the United States and our ability to fulfill that role successfully rests on our Second Amendment rights.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, by the Board of County Commissioners of Jefferson County, Tennessee government will not authorize or appropriate government funds, resources, employees, agencies, contractors, buildings, detention centers, or offices for the purpose of enforcing or assisting in the enforcement of any element of such acts, laws, orders, mandates, rules or regulation that infringe on the right by the people to keep and bear arms as described and defined in detail above.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, by the Board of County Commissioners of Jefferson County, Tennessee meeting in Regular Quarterly Session this 21st day of October, 2019 at the Historical Jefferson County Courthouse in Dandridge, Tennessee that Jefferson County, Tennessee is officially declared a “Second Amendment Sanctuary County”.

This Resolution shall become effective upon the passage, the public welfare requiring it.

CO-SPONSORS: Commissioners, Todd Kesterson and Paul Lowe.